Are our smartphones affecting sleep?

We use them everyday, we use them to talk to our friends, forward emails, and finding information that we need in a flash. Yes , Im talking about that fancy cell phone in your pocket, but did you know that your cell phone is affecting you in more than one way? Cell phone use can affect the amount of sleep..

When we use our phone, the light that the screen emits, also known as “blue light” is recieved by the rods and cones the interpret light in our eyeball. Normally, when we use our cell phones during the day, it does not affect us because we are wide awake, however the problems begin whenever we try to go to sleep. According to a study done by the Lighting research Center tested the effect the blue light would have to the level of melatonin  that the body produces, which helps the body regulate it’s natural circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. When performing the experiment, the researchers tested how melatonin levels where affected not only by the lenght of exposure to the blue light emmited from a tablet and the distance that the tablet was held from the face, but also how wearing different filtering goggles would effect the levels of melatonin in the body as well. After the first hour that the experiment was conducted through the three different types of glasses, orange,  clear, and googles that were fitted with blue light leds. After one hour of exposure, the goggles that were fitted had the lowest amount of melatonin produced, with only 4pg/ml being made while the other glasses allowed the body to make double that, 8pg/ml. However, after two hours of exposure, the blue light glasses had continues to surppress that amount of melatonin that was made by the body, those amounts still remaining at 4 pg/ml, while the two other goggles allowed the body to create even higher levels of melatonin.


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This problem was seen mainly by people ages that were ages 18-24, compared to people who are old than that group. However, one common issue that all age groups that reported having issues sleeping after reporting that they had kept their phone in the bedrooms within arms reach while they slept , compared to those that their phone in their bedroom but out of reach and those that kept their phones out of their bed rooms. This study was conducted thorugh a poll that had a total of 4700 respondents, with ages ranging from 18 to 65 and older.

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Images from


How Smartphones Hurt Sleep. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Wood B, Rea MS, PlitnickB, Figuerio MG. 2013, Light Level and duration of exposure determine the impact of Self- Luminous Tabvlets on Melatonin suppression. Applied Ergonomics


12 thoughts on “Are our smartphones affecting sleep?

  1. Theodore Andrew Ochieng

    As someone who uses their phone a lot before I go to sleep — terrible habit and I’m trying to cut it — I completely agree that my phone affects my sleep. What I’ve come to see is that it extends the time that it takes me to get to sleep and this is consistent with the results reported from the study.

    There was another study done by the University of Michigan that tracked peoples sleeping habits using an app across different countries to see how societal factors affect sleep. I think if you were able to combine the results of the study you mentioned with this study you could learn a lot about smartphone habits and how they relate to sleep depending on the country you’re from.

  2. Christopher Joseph Kiefer

    I definitely can attest to this being true. I always go on my phone when I’m in bed and I have found instances where it has been difficult to fall asleep after. It is very interesting to see how many people keep their phone within reach at night. It almost feels like a necessity at this point.

  3. lkr5215

    This is very relevant as a college student. I sleep with my cell phone within arms length and i can say it does effect my sleep. I like your summarization of the study that was conducted. I do wish there could be more on this topic. It would have been nice if you used ideas we learned in class as a way to incorporate what you have learned and to draw more ideas and conclusions.

  4. Devon Green

    My phone 100% affects my sleep. I’ll be laying in bed very tired but continue to stay up because I’m just sitting scrolling through my phone not realizing all the time passing by. It also puts a strain on my eyes. I know all this is bad for me yet I still continue to do it. This post is very interesting to read about and learn more about what the actual science is behind why phones hurt our sleep.

  5. Michael Kevin Curran

    A very on point topic for college students to read. For years, I had gone to bed with my phone plugged in right next to me, and put it down after scrolling through my social media or text messages for an hour or two before bed. Rarely in this time was I as exhausted as when I had first laid down to go to bed, but now, it all makes sense.

  6. Wendy Sun

    Before going to sleep every night, I always go on my phone. I can’t say that it does not make me stay up later than if I didn’t go on my phone. I would always watch Netflix or text my friends until I fall asleep. It is all good, but some days I would not be able to stop watching Netflix until I binge watch and finish the whole season. I once slept at 5am doing that… I like how you added a lot of graphs showing the correlation between cell phones and sleep. I thought this study regarding cell phones and sleep was interesting.

  7. Francis John Bassani

    My smartphone absolutely has an effect on my sleeping and my ability to complete homework assignments and regular day to day activities. When trying to finish the blogs I often found myself drifting focus from my laptop to my smartphone and started looking up the most irreverent things that have nothing to do with my blogging. I found these minor interjections piling up over along period of time and in the end I lost just as much time to my phone as I did to my work. It took longer and found that I wouldn’t get in bed at my usual time and I have lost sleep this entire last week of classes.

  8. John Rutledge

    I actually did this as my blog post as well! I thought it was interesting that something we use every day is negatively effecting our health. Ever since I learned this I have chosen to read before bed instead and I has actually helped me get to bed a lot quicker vs. when I would use my phone. Goes to show you that you can be too sure of anything.

  9. Francis Patrick Cotter

    My phone definitely impedes my ability to sleep. Even though that statement is anecdotal, there are studies that back it up such as the ones you mention. ( This article elaborates on the point that you made about how it can throw off your sleep.
    One issue with the study is that creating an observational study based on the tests that you mention create a weird environment for the subject to sleep in. I know that my sleep would be thrown off a bit if I had chords attached to me and lights flashing in my eye.

  10. jnb5450

    Very relatable topic. Ever since I’ve had my iPhone I can never sleep. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, texting, and FaceTime all keeps me up at night. It is not just the phone itself, it is the many applications we have on it and ways to communicate with others. But, it is definitely a distraction, no doubt. I find the data very interesting, but not surprising. Everyone I know keeps their phone in their bedroom, within reach of themselves. I keep mine right next to my head (probably a bad idea). I wonder why we ARE so addicted. I also can relate that I do not sleep as well because of my phone. I liked when Andrew takes our phones, and gives us an ultimatum, to see who will give it up because we are all so attached. I can make my own hypothesis and say that I believe it is because we are so attached and we are on our phones 24/7 that it is so hard to let go and have nothing to do. It has become part of us. There are so many more things that our smartphones are changing about us in negative ways: one being in person communication skills: take a look

  11. Amily Zhuang

    I definitely have a hard time sleeping with my phone being around. Like others, I just want to stay updated on social media and find out what others are up to. Nowadays, people are relying on melatonin to sleep rather than just putting their phone aside and just relaxing. It’s hard to realize that your body is as tired as it is when you’re distracted with something else. Like eating until you are FULL, waiting for the body to get sleepy with distractions is when the body begins to shut down.

    I enjoyed your post however I wish you had added some live links
    to make it easier to see your sources.

    Great topic!

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