The National Sleep Foundation recommends we discontinue use of cell phones and other mobile devices at least 30 minutes before bed. Recently, during a medical appointment, I mentioned to the Physician I was having problems sleeping. She queried my cellphone usage before bed, and informed me the blue light on cellphones interferes with melatonin production, which controls our sleep cycles. Of course I knew about this, but bad habits are hard to break.
A study conducted by the University of Arizona, showed a link between teens, cell phone use, and Depression. Scientists continue to research more direct links. While most of the research to date has focused on young adults, the findings may be relevant to us all. Learn about how talking on the phone can affect your health and discover practical methods for using all your electronic devices wisely.
Research on Cell Phone Use
- Know the latest findings. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, studied young people who spend a lot of time on their cell phones and computers. They found heavy users were more prone to sleep disturbances, stress disorders, and other mental health issues.
- Understand gender differences. This latest study found men suffered most from an increase in sleeping difficulties. Women reported both insomnia and more symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Reflect on previous studies. Scientists worldwide have been examining how our phones are affecting us. While there are conflicting findings about any increased risk of cancer, the evidence is stronger when it comes to growing cell phone dependence, and linking our self-esteem, to fancy phones and other possessions.
Using Your Communications Electronics Wisely
- Count your calls. The good news is that the unpleasant effects tend to be linked with extreme use. If you’re making less than 90 calls a day, you’re probably in a safe zone. Phone calls are becoming a thing of the past. Emails, texting, and social media are taking over
- Factor in all your time online. That includes texting, emailing and surfing the Internet.
- Take breaks. Family emergencies and school projects may require that you spend a lot of time on your phone. Give your mind and body time to recover from intense periods to balance things out.
- Turn your phone off. Get in the habit of turning your phone off more often. If you’re not expecting any urgent calls, devote all your attention to the present moment.
- Set a curfew. Mental stimulation and watching an illuminated screen late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try turning everything off a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Analyze advertising messages. Marketing executives want you to feel like their products are part of your personal identity. Base your self-esteem on something more stable, like accomplishments, relationships and spiritual traditions.
- Engage in meaningful activities. Naturally, being bored can cause you to spend more time on the phone. Plan ahead, use your free time to strengthen body and mind.
- Check your messages less often. Reduce the anxiety of monitoring whether people call you back immediately. Develop a schedule for checking messages and stick to it.
- Express your emotions. Studies show that young adults who are skilled at articulating how they feel, are less likely to report heavy cell phone use. Whatever your age, learn effective methods for managing your emotions.
- Exercise more. Spending lots of time with our phones and computers may create a sedentary lifestyle. Keep yourself in shape by working out for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Put your phone to good use, by checking out popular fitness apps that can help you reach your goals.
- Focus on others. Fundamentally, feeling blue can often be fixed by taking the focus off of ourselves and trying to help others. See your doctor if you think you may need help with feelings of depression. Otherwise, use your phone to delight your grandmother ,with a surprise call or spend some time offline.
I will be the first to admit I am a slave to my phone, and spend way too much time online. Conducting research for this post has forced me to reasses. In parting, use your cell phone when you need it, be pro-active in avoiding extreme use that could interfere with your mental and physical wellbeing. Sensible limits, a healthy self-image and constructive use of your leisure time will enable you to stay connected and peaceful.
To Your Success,