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Not So Smart to Take Your Phone to Bed

Smart phones may not help make you smarter—or more productive. A recent study shows how using a smart phone before bedtime can interfere with a good night’s rest and leave you feeling sluggish and unproductive the following day at work.

Two recent studies conducted at Michigan State University examined the connection between using a smart phone before bedtime and productivity at the office the following day. 

After reviewing data pertaining to 82 managers and more than 160 employees, result showed that a mere 20 minutes on a smart phone after 9:00pm caused noticeable cognitive fatigue and lack of productivity at work the next day. 

Although 20 minutes was found to be the average time for use of a smart phone, some participants demonstrated excessive use at 40-45 minutes.

The problem stems primarily from the type of light used on the display of a smart phone. The blue light that emanates from the phone causes inhibition of melatonin, a necessary sleep hormone naturally produced by the body when it is time for sleep. 

Loss of sleep can lead to mood swings, irritability, and even some major chronic health conditions that will interfere with your ability to be effective in the workplace. The same blue light that is found on smart phones is also present in laptops, computers and televisions, but the light from the smart phone proved to be the most problematic. 

Dr. Russell Johnson, one of the lead researchers, states, "Smartphone displays are usually not covered, whereas laptops can be closed and many tablets are kept in sleeves or protective covers that flip down over the screen. When not in use, their displays are not distracting, unlike smart phones that light up or buzz to get users' attention.”

Instead of using your smart phone to accomplish end-of-the-day work tasks right before bed, try setting aside a few minutes well ahead of your planned bedtime (30-60 minutes is sufficient in most cases). 

It is important that you separate your work life from your bedtime, if you want to sleep well and be able to accomplish tasks at work the next day. Leaving the smart phone out of the room you are sleeping in completely is a great way to ensure that you are not interrupted during the night by any lights, beeps or buzzes.


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