Smartphones May Harm Sleep Quality, Says Study

Smartphones May Harm Sleep Quality, Says StudySmartphones May Harm Sleep Quality, Says Study

Smartphones may be hurting sleep quality, a new study revealed.

Billions of people around the world use smartphones, and it is safe to say that more than half of them use phones in bed before they go to sleep. Science says it is bad for sleep quality, as noted by a study published a year ago.

Interestingly, using phones before bed isn’t the only habit that gives us poor sleep quality. In a new research published at PLOS One, scientists wrote that using phones, with their large, bright touchscreen display, give us lower sleep quality whether we use them before bed or not.

In an interview, senior author Gregory Marcus, a UCSF health cardiologist and the director of clinical research in the UCSF Division of Cardiology, revealed that, unsurprisingly, people use phones a lot.

Their study is the first to examine phone usage in a broad population, he added.

Unlike other studies, the team measured screen time directly using a mobile application and didn’t rely on reporting of participants, reports UPI (United Press International) news agency.

Here’s the gist: people with more screen time use had poorer sleep, Marcus revealed. In their research, the team used a sample with 653 participants from the more than 23,000 people enrolled in the UC San Francisco Health eHeart Study.

Participants downloaded an app, or application, for Android. It recorded screen time continuously, counting each hour the screen was on. Data was transmitted daily via the Internet to the research group’s database.

The team measured the screen time between September 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. The total average screen time was computed over selected 30-day windows for each participant. Participants also provided additional information to the group on demographics, tobacco and alcohol use, physical activity, mood, and cardiovascular diagnoses.

Based on the data, the research team revealed that the total screen time exposure of participants averaged 38.4 hours at an average 3.7 minutes per hour. After taking other factors into the mix, the team has found that Hispanic, Black, or ‘other’ race/ethnicity had longer average screen time. Lower sleep quality is of course linked to many diseases, including diabetes, depression and overall mortality. Studies have also shown its link with obesity. Meanwhile, smartphone use, with its screen that produce light in the blue spectrum, can suppress the production of melatonin and could lead to difficulty initiating sleep, non-restorative sleep and decreased drowsiness.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints