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Apr 29 2016
by Daja Henry

Is Using Your Cell Phone Before Bed Causing Sleep Deprivation?

By Daja Henry - Apr 29 2016

For many college students, using a cell phone has become part of their pre-bedtime ritual. The dim glow of a cell phone screen has been substituted for the nightlight, and music from the phone often lulls us to sleep. However, a study done at Ithaca College has shown a link between cell phone usage before bed and sleep deprivation in college students. 

It's no secret that many college students struggle with sleep deprivation. Some colleges have even incorporated nap pods to try to combat the problem. According to the study, 80 percent of college students are dangerously sleep deprived. 

Many just chalk it up to procrastination and all-nighters, but apparently cell phones play a role into this too. The blue light wavelengths emitted by cell phone screens suppress production of the hormone melatonin, which regulates the body's circadian rhythms. According to the study, we receive this blue light naturally during the day from the sun, which gives us energy and alertness, exactly the opposite of what we need when trying to go to sleep. 

However, there are less scientific reasons for the link between cell phone usage and sleep deprivation. Having a cell phone within reach is simply a distraction. “Sometimes it sucks you in, like, I meant to go to bed 15 minutes ago, and here I am,” Senior Elise Steele told the Ithacan.

WIVB of Buffalo cites possible effects of sleep deprivation as "lower grade point averages, impaired mood and an increase in car accidents." The Huffington Post also includes sluggishness, lack of focus, clumsiness, hunger, being more susceptible to catching a cold, and decreased sex drive. So the next time your mom says this, she's not just exaggerating.

Lead Image Credit: Bedtime, Flickr Creative Commons

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Daja Henry - Howard University

Daja Henry is a sophomore Media, Journalism, and Film Communications major at Howard University. She is a writer, lyric connoisseur, and lover of all cultures. You can follow her on Twitter @dajaeh97.

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