One reason to stop using your phone before bed

The Tweet: “A study found that cell phone radiation can cause insomnia, headaches and confusion.”

Using your mobile phone before sleeping, or even keeping your phone next to your bed, could increase the amount of time it takes for you to get to sleep. A study published in 2008 by researchers at Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University in Sweden and from Wayne State University in Michigan, US, found “measurable effects on the brain” caused by mobile phone radiation.

The researchers exposed 35 men and 36 women aged between 18 and 45 to radiation that exactly replicated the dose from mobile phones or gave a fake dose with no radiation. People who received the radiation took longer to fall into the first of the deeper stages of sleep. Author of the study Professor Bengt Arnetz says the radiation may activate the brain’s stress system; “making people more alert and more focused, and decreasing their ability to wind down and fall asleep”. The researchers concluded: “The study indicates that during laboratory exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals components of sleep believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear are adversely affected.”

Dr William Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute added: “Anything that disrupts the integrity of your sleep will potentially have adverse consequences in functioning during the day, such as grouchiness, difficulty concentrating, and in children hyperactivity and behaviour problems.”

A study following 1,656 Belgian teenagers for a year found most of them used their phones after going to bed. It concluded that those who used them more than once a week before bed were more than five times as likely to be ‘very tired’.

But Mike Dolan, executive director of the Mobile Operators Association who funded the study and perhaps embarrassed with the findings, said the study was inconsistent with other research, concluding: “It is really one small piece in a very large scientific jigsaw. It is a very small effect, one researcher likened it to less than the effect you would see from a cup of coffee.”

Of the other effects that mobile phone radiation is accused of, there is no relationship between mobile phone use and cancer, according to our most comprehensive research to date. The largest study so far on mobile phones and cancer, the Million Women Study, looked at 790,000 women and found no link between use of mobile phones and brain tumours or 18 other types of cancer.

Image: Matthew/ Flickr

This post was first published on The Untweetable Truth (18/01/2014)

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