We’ve all heard it; the radiation in our phones can be interrupting our brains (scary right?). But have you ever considered the extent of the damage our phones have on our health? Have you ever thought… maybe I should do something about this? I hadn’t, until recently when I started to become conscious of how my phone was making me feel. I noticed that when I was talking on the phone, my ear would become burning hot, and after the call I could hear a slight ringing. I actually woke up one night with my phone under my pillow and felt the heat coming through! I finally thought, it’s time for something to change.
Electromagnetic fields emitted by phones have many health consequences, and can affect you as much as altering your brain patterns. Sleep is an integral part of our lives and reduced sleep can impact on stress, adrenal function and even our hormone levels. EMF exposure for just 30 minutes prior to falling asleep significantly reduces how much of a deep sleep we have, technically speaking it increases our ‘Non- Rapid Eye Movement (Non-REM) sleep, causing continuous broken sleep. The other stage, Rapid Eye Movement (REM), is when we are in the deepest sleep, and allows us to be completely rested (1). High mobile phone use has also been linked to mood changes such as increased stress and depressive symptoms compared to those with low use (2).
The new medical term for posture that is impacted by using smartphones. Tilting your neck down to text, or even use your computer has been shown to increase weight to the cervical spine. Tilting your head forward as little as 15 degrees increases the weight to your spine by 12kg, and a tilt of 60 degrees causes an extra 27kg stress to your spine! Researchers also conclude that people spend on average 2-4 hours per day with their head tilted, either texting, or reading. This can have serious lifelong implications to not only your posture, but the general strength of your bones, and early onset degeneration is becoming more and more prevalent (3).
Crash Test Dummies
Yes, using our mobile phones whilst walking in the street is significantly increasing the occurrence of pedestrian injuries! (4) But don’t worry, for all of the ‘Smombies’ (smartphone zombies) out there who walk around aimlessly, unsure of their surroundings or destination, the innovators of the world have gone one step further- Installing traffic lights in the ground at pedestrian crossings (Ausberg-Germany) and building guided cellphone sidewalks that separate the users from the non-users (Chongqing-China) – Really?!
What can you do to minimise the risks?
- Reduce ‘text neck’ by reading and texting with a neutral spine, using speak-to-text options on your phone and doing neck exercises (such as tilting your head back slightly and tucking your chin to your chest).
- Use Headphones with a microphone built in or Bluetooth headphones that mean you can call and talk on the phone without having the phone directing on your ear.
- As far as EMF goes, a good start to detoxifying yourself from exposure is to have a tech-free bedroom. Leave your phone, TV, iPod and speakers out of your bedroom whilst you sleep (yes you can still get battery operated bedside alarms!) Have at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 hour) of mobile phone and TV-free time before bed is also proven to help reduce the impacts of EMF on your sleep cycles (and also amazing for our stress levels).
- Get outside and have some time in the darkness – this helps increase Melatonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for a good night’s sleep and a refreshing morning).
- Only allocate certain times of the day to check emails – don’t respond to every single Ping or Beep as soon as it arrives. not only is this bad for our stress levels, it is also VERY unproductive and time consuming.
- And for you Smombies- get outside and leave your phone in your pocket – that text message can wait! Enjoy your surroundings and the people who pass you by in the street. You never know it could save your life.
Check out amazing Neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo and his opinion on Mobile Phone use, the links to Brain Cancer from the Radiation and what we can do to protect ourselves!