Zombie nation: is our 24/7 relationship with our mobile-phones creating a society of insomniacs?

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  • Glance round any bus, train or tube carriage and you’ll see that addiction to mobile phone use is rife. But is our telecoms dependency ruining our beauty sleep?

    Eight out of ten people keep their mobiles on overnight according to Ofcom, and around half of those admit to checking their phone if they’re disturbed by it in the night.

    Sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley adds: ‘In order to get a good night’s sleep, you have to feel safe and not worried about anything. By having your phone close by at night, you’re subconsciously saying you wish to attend to that phone.’

    And our nomophobia (the technical term for the fear of being out of mobile phone contact) means we end up not getting enough of the restorative sleep we need.

    It seems that the light produced by the bright,
    high-quality screen on modern phones can trick our bodies into believing
    it’s daytime.

    Moreover, having a mobile by the bed means if we do wake up in the night, we’re more likely to stay awake.

    As Dr Meadows, insomnia specialist at The Sleep School, explains,
    ‘We sleep in cycles of 1½-2 hours with brief moments of waking’ – in
    which moments, stimulus such as a flash of light or vibration from your
    phone could make you fully conscious.

    The good news is that concerns about the effects of electromagnetic
    radiation – headaches, nausea, dizziness, tinnitus and sleep disorders –
    have not been supported by research findings so far.

    ‘This is not to say the symptoms of electrosensitivity aren’t
    real – they are, and can be devastating’ Dr Rubin of the Institute
    Psychiatry at King’s College, London told the Daily Mail. ‘But as far as we can tell, it’s
    not the electromagnetic field causing them.’

    So will we give up our bad texting habits for a good nights sleep? Well, given these concerns have been making headlines since at least 2008, we predict escalating sales of Touché Éclat instead.

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