Is Staring At Your Phone Killing You?

Is Staring At Your Phone Killing You?

The use of artificial light since 1970 has more than tripled, and technology is the reason for this.There are so many devices that we use today such as cell phones, iPads, computer screens, and television impacting our lives. We just can't skip looking at the cell phone screen before retiring for the night, because we might miss something important, and once we look, it’s hard to put it down. Sometimes hours can pass unnoticed.

Is Staring At Your Phone Killing You?

Studies done by Brigham and Women's Hospital show we are hurting our health in the long term. It is important to understand why. Cell phones produce a blue light that affects the Melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is the chemical which controls the internal clock and helps you fall asleep.

It is far better for our health to pick up an actual book and read than to read on your cell phone. When Melatonin is disturbed, it affects the REM cycle. REM is deep sleep including dream time indicated by rapid eye movement while dreaming, and dreaming is vital to our physical and mental health.

When we use a cell phone right before we go to sleep it keeps us alert longer, so we get less sleep and sleep that is not as restful. Studies also show that using a cell phone at night can impact how alert we are the next day. Additional studies by Brigham and Women's Hospital indicated that poorer sleep and even less sleep have a great effect on our jobs and our performance at school. It is interesting to note that with the increase of devices with blue light, there is also a major increase in caffeine consumption either by drinking coffee, energy drinks, or caffeinated soft drinks.  

When Melatonin is disturbed on a regular basis, it can lead to serious diseases.  Brigham and Women's Hospital studied 12 men and found that not getting enough deep REM sleep can lead to a rise in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It has also been shown that people who use the phone right before bed have an increased risk of certain types of cancer!

With the increased usage of cellphones in the teen population, the question needs to be asked: Is the high increase of electronic devices adding to their chance of long-term health problems? It will be difficult to know until the younger population ages.

If you must look at the cell phone, especially at night, some ways to decrease the harmful effects are downloading a free app on your phone (such as F.lux) or purchasing UVEX orange tint glasses. These both help to decrease blue light exposure while staring at our devices.

Getting enough deep sleep is a critical part of your long-term health, and such an easy way to extend your life as well as your quality of life. How many hours do you spend on your cell phone and computer per day? Do you think it’s excessive?

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Travis Zigler

Other Dry Eye articles by Dr. Zigler: 4 Tips to Stop Waking Up With Dry, Painful EyesWhich Antidepressants Cause Dry EyeFish Oil for Fighting Dry Eye Inflammation; and What Not To Eat If You Have Dry Eye


Sources: http://www.brighamandwomens.org/about_bwh/publicaffairs/news/pressreleases/PressRelease.aspx?sub=0&PageID=1962&ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000619


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