Cell Phone Usage After Lights Out
As we all know, cell phones come with a heap of pros and cons. Now how about using a phone after tucking yourself into bed? Some argue it has no complications while others argue otherwise. A new study in Japan suggests “Teens who frequently used their cellphones after going to bed were more likely to have poor mental health and suicidal thoughts, and to have harmed themselves, compared with those who did not use their phones at that time of night.”. As mentioned in my last blog, cell phone usage after dark is dangerous for several reasons. People don’t think rationally and then may do something they regret the next day. We are all guilty of sending something and then regretting it shortly after whether it be an apology, sext, picture, conversation starter, etc. This can evidently increase stress levels and depending on severity increase risk of developing a mental illness. Studies show we are more likely to act on impulse at night because we think the consequences won’t occur immediately.
Secondly, at night we are less busy which can lead to loneliness which can lead to developing a mental illness. A majority of people are asleep during late hours which leaves those who are awake with not many people to interact with.
A lack of close friends and a dearth of broader social contact generally bring the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness. It begins with an awareness of a deficiency of relationships. This cognitive awareness plays through our brain with an emotional soundtrack. It makes us sad. We might feel an emptiness. We may be filled with a longing for contact. We feel isolated, distanced from others, deprived. These feelings tear away at our emotional well-being.
By staying up on social media we are setting ourselves up. We know barely anyone will be active or our friends will stop texting us after a certain point (because they fell asleep) but we still expect the attention.
On top of all of this, if we are using up our times on our phones, we are taking away time from sleep. Study after study proves trouble or lack of sleep leads to an increased risk for suicide and self-harm. “Researchers theorize that looking at a bright screen and performing tasks that excite the brain may change the production of melatonin. The hormone is produced during sleep, and a change in its production could hurt teens’ quality of sleep.”, said nicely by Makini Brice of medicaldaily.com. Sleep deprivation can not only can cause damage to your body in the short term but over time can lead to chronic health problems and negatively impact your quality of life. It can affect your central nervous system, immune system, respiratory system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and more. We are hurting ourselves greatly by staying up late on our phones.
I personally was a victim of binge cell phone usage at night. My mom isn’t a fan of excessive cell phone usage so the only time I could get away with it was when she was asleep. I looked forward to every night, using my phone without any worries. Several negative outcomes came about because of this addiction. I became extremely sleep deprived, going to bed at 3–4am and waking up at 6am. This affected my mood, health, school performance, etc. I was able to brush all of this to the side not identifying the problem at hand; cell phone usage at night. Until one day, I woke up with very puffy red eyes. I bought medicine and moved on with my day but I didn’t recognize any improvement. For a couple months, once it hit a certain hour, my eyes would itch, become red and exhibit mucus. I went to several doctors until an optometrist told me I was experiencing digital eye strain from the excessive use of electronics. The straining led to headaches, itching and burning of the eyes, and even long term vision problems. I realized I had a serious problem in front of me and began cutting down the use of electronics by firstly, deleting all forms of social media except one. This decreased my time spent on my phone drastically and the straining left. I no longer stay up on my phone or live on social media. From personal experience I can say, I am a lot happier now that I’ve distanced myself from my phone.