It’s no secret that using a mobile phone in bed isn’t the smartest idea, however just how much is it affecting us?
A new study of more than 91,000 people has found that late-night mobile phone use could increase the likelihood of developing a number of psychological problems such as depression, bipolar disorder and neuroticism.
This is due to the disruptive behaviours linked to phone use in relation to our body clock and a healthy night’s sleep.
There have been endless lists of research that link a good night’s sleep to our mental and physical wellbeing, however this study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry by professors at The University of Glasgow, is the first to monitor body clock disruption on such a large scale.
Participants aged 37 to 73 had their activity levels monitored by wrist-work accelerometers, which they wore for a seven day period, enabling researchers to measure the extent at which their circadian rhythmicity was disturbed during this time.
cross-sectional examinations were performed to measure participants’ psychological wellbeing and found that roughly one in 25 had unusual activity habits whereby they weren’t that much more active during the day than the night.
These people were 11% more likely to have bipolar disorder and 6% more likely to be battling depression. They also reported lower levels of happiness and greater levels of loneliness.
Lead author of the study, Daniel Smith said that these people suffer from “very poor sleep hygiene” and would engage in late night activities – like using a phone.
“This is important because it seems to be across the board,” he said, “so it is a very consistent finding for these negative mental health and cognitive outcomes.”
As well as imposing a 10pm ban on mobile phone use, he also stressed the importance of day-time activities.
“I think this is important as a population health issue because so many of us are living with disrupted circadian rhythms,”
“It’s unlikely that the way society is currently set up is good for your health. So many people are living in city environments flooded with light 24/7.”
What can you do to improve sleep quality?
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Limit or naps
- Exercise daily
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Control your exposure to light
The study follows a trend of worrying findings surrounding our mental wellbeing. Another study recently found that three in four Britains had felt overwhelmed by stress in the last year, whilst one in three were left feeling suicidal.
Want to write for Student Problems? We’re on the lookout for contributors, drop [email protected] an email to get involved!