Cell phones are a detriment to sleep

Sleep is more important than good nutrition. That’s a weird thing for a dietitian to say, but it’s true.

We detoxify & organize our memories during sleep. One poor night of sleep can make your body act pre-diabetic. Cutting-edge neurobiology teaches us that during sleep, cleansing spinal fluid is released from little compartments in the brain to give your brainy bits a little bath.

Many things get in the way of sleep, but this study highlights one of the most modern and pervasive: technology.

Research: Using a Smartphone After 9 pm Leaves Workers Disengaged

Here are the main points:

  • A well-rested employee is a better employee (supported by extensive research: insufficient sleep has been linked to more unethical behavior at workcyberloafing, andwork injuries, and less organizational citizenship behavior).
  • Smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep: keep us mentally engaged with work late into the evening & make it harder to psychologically detach from the most pressing cares of the day so that we can relax and fall asleep
  • Hypothesis of study (which was proven correct): a greater number of minutes spent using smartphones after 9pm would more negatively affect sleep; that this in turn would leave people feeling tired in the morning; and that, as a result, they would be less engaged at work the next day.
  • Smartphones (and laptops) expose us to blue light– even small amounts inhibit the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin.
  • Solution: have management-defined “predictable time off” during which emails/updates are not sent. OR have defined expectations of when employees are expected to respond (ex. email comes in at 10pm, but it’s okay to wait until 9am to respond)

If you HAVE to use your phone after 9pm, try f.lux. It’s an app for your computer (PC & Mac) & iPhone/iPad that dims the light it emits after a certain time (specified by you). This prevents the “blue light” wavelengths from stalling out your production of melatonin.

Nighty night!

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