A new report out of Michigan State University found that smartphone owners who use their device for work purposes before sleep wake up with a tech “hangover.” Smartphones already distract us, isolate us from social situations, and keep us obsessing over always staying connected, so why not add yet another negative to smartphone ownership? The underlying message here seems to be that smartphones are ruining our lives. Maybe that’s why people are so eager to move on to wearables and other alternatives.
According to Russell Johnson, MSU assistant professor of management, smartphones are incredibly disruptive to sleep because they keep our minds engaged, making it more difficult for us to detach so we’re able to relax and fall asleep. Have you ever been really tired, laid down, and felt wide awake? It might be because you just scrubbed through your work email and spent the last ten minutes replying to colleagues. And it’s not just engaging your mind in work drama; the light emitted from your device also allegedly interferes with the body’s levels of melatonin, which is a natural chemical that promotes sleep.
So even if you’re simply browsing the Web or trying to get in touch with a co-worker at 10 p.m. while lying in bed, your smartphone is hindering your sleep, according to the study. The data was collected by asking 82 upper-level managers to complete different surveys every day over a two week period; the study also surveyed 161 employees covering a variety of occupations, from nursing to manufacturing. In the end, smartphones were found to disrupt sleep in a lot of participants, leading researchers to consider if a “hangover.”
Oddly, the researchers found that smartphones had a larger negative effect than tablets, laptops and televisions. If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to consider turning your smartphone off, or at least resisting the urge to check social media or try and get work done. Your body will thank you the next morning after getting a good night’s rest.