Overnight phone use, worth the risk?

by Arin Bailey De Los Reyes 1,225 views0

Many students constantly complain for the lack of sleep, owing to the fact that they are glued to their mobile devices before they go to sleep.

However, not only does it distract you from your eight hours of sleep; looking at your screen during late hours before bedtime can have a negative impact on your body. Unfortunately, some people are unaware of the multiple health consequences that can arise from this.

Some people do not even notice that a majority of the time, the last thing you look at before you go to bed is your phone, and the first thing you look at in the morning is your phone.

Now that we established that there are damaging repercussions to being on your phone at night, it is important to examine the individual effects it can do to you.

Normally, when people are on their phones before bed, they are in a dark environment, so the light from your phone tends to keep your body awake which reduces your melatonin level.

Melatonin is important for your body because it practically signals your body when it is time for sleep.

Additionally, looking at your bright screen for long periods of time can also be harmful to your eyes.

“It actually is true that it is not healthy to be on your phone late at night, especially with your brightness really high. It’s too bright and your surroundings are dark,” local optometrist at Eye Glasses Direct, Kee Hong Park says. “The blue light from your phone can be harmful to your eyes, possibly making your vision blurry and it can give you headaches. You can even go cross eyed too if you do it too much.”

After informing some College of the Canyon students about the harmful effects smartphones can do to you, many were appalled because they were not fully aware about what it can really do.

A poll was taken on campus on how long students spend on their cell phones at night before bed, and out of the 56 students who participated, 24 students spend 1 hour, 21 students spend 2 hours, 5 students spend 3 hours, and 6 students spend a whopping total of 4 hours.

“I usually spend up to three hours on my phone before bed. I tend to get caught up in emails and all of my social media so it keeps me up which really affects my sleeping pattern. I noticed that I would be dead tired and then when I look at my phone, I become wide awake,” College of the Canyon student, Josh David says. “I had no idea that a phone could be harmful to your body, let alone extra harmful at night before I go to sleep.”

Tristan Moreno, a 23-year-old College of the Canyons alumni had a Samsung flip phone till he was about 21-years-old, and he realized how different and possibly dangerous the transition was from his flip phone to his iPhone 6.

“I was never on my phone before I switched to an iphone. I had a flip phone till I was 21 years old so there was nothing to do. I wanted to keep my life simple,” Moreno says. “Now before I go to bed, I look at the news and catch up on all social media for at most one hour. I try to avoid it though because I heard the blue light on my phone is just as awakening as an expresso.”

“I am on my phone for about 45 minutes to an hour before bed,” College of the Canyons student, Celia Davalos says. “I know a little about how bad it is for you so I try to take precautions to being on my phone in the dark by putting my brightness on the lowest setting and turning on the ‘night mode’ iPhone feature.”

Most students are only aware that it is not good for your eyes, or that it keeps you awake in the late hours, but there are even worse effects that it does to your body.

Phones are still a relatively new invention of the world. There has not been enough long term effect studies on the dangers of phones.

Courtesy of Penn State

As the new generations arise the more advanced technology gets such as brighter and clearer screens. All of these advancements contribute to an addictive behavior to an individual’s own device.

According to the National Cancer Institute, from the year of 2000 to the year of  2014, the number of cellphone users have nearly tripled; 110 million to 327 million in the United States alone. Not only are the devices getting more addictive, but they are also being used at a much younger age for the newer generations.

The younger the child is the more dangerous and harmful it can be for the person to use their phone at night.

Brains are not fully developed till the age of 25, therefore affecting an individual’s sleep, melatonin levels, and many other factors we may not even be aware about, and it may be extremely detrimental to one’s health in the long run.

Dianne Llorico is a nurse practitioner at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital located in Valencia, and claims that your melatonin production plays a huge role in preventing cancer.

“Being on your phone at night exposes you to really bright light and it can stop your melatonin production, and melatonin helps your immune system to properly function,” Llorico says. “Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced by the body. It helps regulate the sleep-wake, but it is also linked to anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. That’s where the link to cancer largely plays because cancer is basically your own body gone haywire when cells won’t stop proliferating.”

Melatonin plays a critical role in your body.

Shaun Novin graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in molecular cell and developmental biology. He also is the business development manager at the cancer research company, Meditope Biosciences. He also claims how though it is not 100% certain, there are unintended consequences when your melatonin levels are thrown off.

“Melatonin is a hormone that is heavily involved in regulation of cells and it can play around with your biological clock putting your body in sync or out of sync. Cancer needs oxidative capabilities and failed inflammatory mechanisms to become cancer. So, if there is a decrease in melatonin, that is why some researchers have found a link to the melatonin and certain types of cancers like breast or prostate cancer,” Novin says.

“It gives certain cancer patients some additive benefits to reduce some side effects, and when the levels of melatonin change, it could lead to the instability of a cell becoming cancerous.”

It is a common habit for all of us to use our cell phones in the dark, and though it may be entertaining to check out what people are doing in their lives, take a step back and read a book.

Try to avoid using your cell phone at night.

It may more beneficial for you than you think.

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