What Happens When We Check Our Smartphones before Bed?

Here's some easy health advice we should all take with us into the New Year.


Many of us have heard the medical advice that we shouldn't check our electronic devices before bed. It disrupts our sleep. Other than setting back our biological clocks a bit, what harm could checking Facebook before bed have on my health?

A lot, according to a new video released by Business Insider. There's a dangerous chain reaction this habit sets in motion. Dr. Daniel Siegel walks viewers through what happens when we take out our phones right before bed.

;

The light from a smartphone releases a stream of photons, telling our brains not to secrete melatonin — the chemical responsible for making us feel tired. So, we feel awake, and this leads us to continue to browse our smartphones, because why not? We're still awake. This leads us to clock in less hours of sleep each night.

Scientists are beginning to discover just how important sleep is to maintaining our physical and mental wellbeing. Deepak Chopra, co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, says, “Seven to eight hours of sleep every night without drugs or induced by alcohol, is absolutely essential for your body to remain in good health, to remove the amyloid from your brain that causes premature dementia and Alzheimer's and to actually self-regulate the cellular activity in your entire body.” 

At night, the glial cells are doing their work, cleaning up the toxins that our neurons produce. Scientists have found a link between poor sleep and Alzheimer's disease, saying that it's caused by a breakdown in the brain's several disposal processes.

For the vast majority of us, we need our seven to nine hours of sleep in order to clean out these toxic chemicals in our brains, allowing us to maintain mental and physical health for the day and years ahead. Siegel recommends giving ourselves an hour buffer between our electronic screens and bed time, advice I'm going to heed.

***

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: AFP / Stringer/ Getty

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Moon mission 2.0: What humanity will learn by going back to the Moon

Going back to the moon will give us fresh insights about the creation of our solar system.

Videos
  • July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing — Apollo 11.
  • Today, we have a strong scientific case for returning to the moon: the original rock samples that we took from the moon revolutionized our view of how Earth and the solar system formed. We could now glean even more insights with fresh, nonchemically-altered samples.
  • NASA plans to send humans to a crater in the South Pole of the moon because it's safer there, and would allow for better communications with people back on Earth.

Top vets urge dog lovers to stop buying pugs and bulldogs

Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds. 

Photo by terriermandotcom.blogspot.com
popular
  • Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade.
  • Higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black may be the cause.
  • These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Keep reading Show less

U.S. Air Force warns UFO enthusiasts against storming Area 51

Jokesters and serious Area 51 raiders would be met with military force.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Facebook joke event to "raid Area 51" has already gained 1,000,000 "going" attendees.
  • The U.S. Air Force has issued an official warning to potential "raiders."
  • If anyone actually tries to storm an American military base, the use of deadly force is authorized.
Keep reading Show less