Radiation, vibrations, hypervigilance… Are our smartphones placed on the table a few centimeters from our head all night dangerous for our health? Let’s take stock in light of current elements.
Who among us takes care to store their smartphone out of the bedroom? The answer is simple: almost no one. On the contrary, it often sits within reach on the bedside table, serving as a telephone, alarm, podcast player… But what are the consequences of this proximity? Are waves harmful to our brain? Should we turn off our phone or put it away remotely? All the answers.
Too few conclusions on radiation to date
The first threat that comes to mind regarding phones near our heads is the effects of radiation and waves. A question shared by scientists themselves: a July 2023 study published in the journal Cancers thus revealed a positive, albeit weak, correlation between death from brain cancer and cell phone use. However, Shabbir Syed Abdul, co-author of the study, told VeryWell Health that“It is crucial to recognize that definitive conclusions cannot be drawn at this stage.”
Radiation is still being explored to this day, but there is currently nothing to alarm us. For Dr. Neha Narula, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University, interviewed by Yahoo Life, there is little reason to worry: “Currently, there is no evidence that radiation emitted by smartphones or tablets affects our long-term health because it is “non-ionizing” radiation.
No proof therefore that this radiation is harmful, but no concrete proof that it is not harmful either, as highlighted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which classified it in 2011 as “possible carcinogens for humans”.
Other reasons to turn off your phone before bed
You’re not afraid of radiation? However, the smartphone is not a very good friend when it comes to sleeping and can impact your health. And this for many reasons :
- It shortens your nights. By keeping a phone handy near the bed, there is a good chance that you will check it, or watch videos, articles right before falling asleep, while still remaining active. This automatically impacts your sleep time and can lead to poor quality or insufficient sleep;
- It disrupts your circadian rhythm. The light also emitted by your phone at bedtime can in fact disrupt your circadian rhythm which punctuates your days by fooling your brain. So the blue light from our screens interferes with our production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us tired… and prevents us from sleeping;
- It keeps you alert. Poorer quality sleep will also interfere with your level of alertness and may increase your stress. So people with chronic insomnia, for example, may find that sleeping next to their phone increases hypervigilance at bedtime. Waiting for a message or notification can also plunge you into a state of hypervigilance despite yourself. However, for certain people, alone or anxious, for example, this same telephone placed nearby can also reassure and allow them to sleep better, before Dr. Rafael Pelayo, professor of sleep medicine at Stanford University, still in Yahoo Life.
Ultimately, rather than storing your cell phone in the living room or in your office, perhaps you should opt for more rational use? A smartphone nearby, but turned off, two hours before bedtime, or on airplane mode so as not to be tempted to communicate, while remaining reassured.