Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is it time to stop taking your mobile to bed?

Maryam Z | 10:18 AM |
Do you take your mobile phone to bed with you? It might be having more of an impact on your well-being than you realize…

A report in the Daily Mail suggests some of the reasons why this may be so:
  • sleeping with your mobile phone in the bedroom is likely to make you “hyper vigilant” – not just disturbed by it actually ringing but simply the thought of it doing so and all of the following day’s activities its presence might be reminding you of; 
  • subconsciously you might be expecting the phone to ring or for a message to be received, thus increasing your anxiety and preventing a restful night;
  • if you can’t stop yourself from thinking about your phone – since it is right by your side – you may be tempted to check it. That act alone is likely to wake you up and the continuity of sleep is disturbed;
  • there may be an increased risk of headaches and dizziness;
  • mobile phones have an especially intrusive light which is known to disturb normal sleeping patterns – fooling the body into thinking it is already daylight;
  • the predominantly blue light emitted by your mobile compounds the difficulty in your getting a good night’s sleep; and
  • although the jury may still be out on the potentially harmful effects of your mobile’s radio waves, the radiation may be disturbing the electrical activity in your brain when you are sleeping.

 Advice to a digital addict

If you have become so addicted to the use of your mobile phone that you are taking it to bed with you, there is an organisation encouraging you to give the device itself a rest – simply by switching it off.

The campaign goes by the name of Tech Timeout and encourages us all to do just that – turn off all our digital devices and gadgets for at least an hour each day in order to improve the overall quality of life.

The Tech Timeout challenge, sponsored by Foresters (the international financial services and membership organisation) has produced some disturbing statistics, among them the fact that:
  • 73% of the population would encounter significant difficulties going a full day without a computer or mobile phone;
  • 25% of the population is online for more hours each day than they are asleep; and
  • The majority of the population check their mobile phone some 200 times a day;
  • Children spend an average of 1.4 hours a day on technology. This amounts to 9.8 hours in a week;
  • Over a third (36%) of parents wish their children would spend a little less time on technology .
Rebecca Bell, project lead for Tech Timeout comments “At Foresters we have become mindful of the possible intrusion of technology into family life, and have launched the Tech Timeout challenge to encourage families to take a break from technology for one hour every day, for a week.

“The draw of digital devices can be distracting from the world around us, so taking the challenge is a great way to keep tech habits in check and avoid the slippery slope to becoming a digital addict.  It can be the perfect opportunity to spend more time with family and friends discovering what interests you in the real world, too.”

Chipping away at such a reliance on all things digital – including mobile phones – the challenge takes the form of a pledge simply to turn them off on a daily basis, if only for a week. The difference, argues Tech Timeout, lies in the quality time it is then possible to spend with family members, children and spouses and even your pets.

Do yourself a favor

Switching off all your electronic devices and gadgets may provide the opportunity to rediscover the enthusiasm and interest of family activities. There is a lot to be gained, in taking the pledge.

At night, though, you may be able to do yourself an enormous favor and start by making your bedroom a “tech-free” zone.

Steve Dilworth is MD of the Member Network UK at Foresters, the international financial services (FS) and membership organisation. He has extensive experience within the charity and FS sector, with a First Class Honors Degree in Economics and a Degree in FS. He is Chair of Soho Ltd, a subsidiary of Soho Housing Association, and Chairs Bromley Neighborhood Police Panel. In 2012 he was elected as a Community Champion for the London Borough of Bromley.

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