Smartphones have become a necessary part of our lives. These are advanced mobile operating systems with personal computer operating systems and other features useful for hand use including receiving and placing calls, text messages, managing apps like calendar, notes, GPS navigation, digital camera, etc. Display is usually touchscreen and this is an accessible way to use internet.
Apart from its many benefits, smartphones hold a variety of side effects. One of this is it emits a blue light which allows us to read even in brightest points of day. This light can never be turned off or adjusted but is continuously emitted by smartphones, laptops, televisions, etc. This light imitates sun and confuses brain to assume it to be day even when its night actually.
Smartphones have become a necessary part of our lives but it hold variety of side effects.
This confusion of brain stops the melatonin release and hence less sleep in night. Melatonin is the hormone which is sleep-inducing and is released by Pineal gland of body. This hormone controls our daily sleep wake cycles or body’s internal clock known as Circadian rhythm. Its levels are generally elevated in night and lowered in morning causing to waken up but stoppage of this hormone release prevents from falling asleep.
The blue light emitted reacts with photo receptor Melanospin which is sensitive to wide range of blue- green frequencies around 480 nm and is found in retinal ganglionic cells of eyes which lead to deprivation of sleep and insomnia.
This impact on sleep by smartphones and these electronic devices are more on teenagers as teenagers are more sensitive and the circadian rhythm shifts during adolescence and hence teenagers are more awake during night. Playing video games on phones or watching television shows can make them more awake and more difficult early mornings next day. Other effects include:-
1. Electromagnetic radiations of these phones are four times more harmful for a child and his health.
2. Screen addiction or habituation is also considered a disorder and is difficult to get rid off.
3. This blue light can also damage retina of eyes over time and more of its exposure at night can lead to decreased sleep and increased risk of breast and prostate cancers.
4. By disrupting release of Melatonin, blue light interrupts with hunger controlling hormones too and hence more hunger at night leading to Obesity.
5. With suppressed body clock and melatonin levels, depression can occur too.
6. Disruption of sleep can lead to distraction and impairment of memory for next day and difficulty in learning.
7. Lack of sleep for long time can lead to neurotoxin production and hence less sleep.
8. Methods to control smartphone and other devices affects include:- Limiting or reducing use of smartphones and devices and turning off all screens at least 2 hours before sleep is recommended. Reading books and dim red lighting in night in bedroom is advised.
An app called flux should be downloaded and used as it adjusts display color according to time of day like dark or less bright in night and brighter at day and hence lessens emission of blue light. Smartphones being vital should be used wisely and carefully so it’s beneficial to both our knowledge and health.