The 21st century has encouraged addicting possessions. People consider their nonessential valuables essential and can’t live without them. Prime examples of addictive belongings include cell phones, social media, alcohol, electronics, drugs, coffee, sugar, and streaming services. Many people find themselves dependent on their cell phones, even when they aren’t awake. They charge their phones overnight, leave them on while sleeping, keep them too close to the bed, or put them under their pillow when they slumber. These daily habits are problematic for both the cell phone and the individual.
Charging Your Phone Overnight
It sounds like a good idea, but it deteriorates your phone so gradually that you don’t notice. Maybe that’s why phones break after just two or three years. An article titled “Why You Shouldn’t Charge Your Mobile Phone Overnight” by Lance Whitney was published on Time in 2017. It reads:
Even though a charger turns off the juice when your phone reaches 100%, . . . a “trickle charge” attempts to keep it at 100% to compensate for the small bit of charge that your phone just naturally loses on its own. So your phone is constantly being bounced between a full charge and a bit below a full charge. These trickle charges can lead to higher ambient temperatures for your phone, which can reduce capacity over time.
John Bradshaw, Cadex Electronics’ marketing communications manager, and Lance Whitney suggest plugging in your phone when it is around 35% to 40%. This will preserve the battery capacity. Take it off the charger as soon as it reaches 100%.
Leaving Your Phone On When You Sleep
If you’re sleeping all night, why do you need your phone on? Some people use their phones as their alarm and don’t have the money or care to buy a clock. Yet clocks are more convenient; you can see the time from anywhere in your bedroom, without having to press a button on your phone. Not to mention, the phone batteries drain overnight. Instead, power them down. It only takes thirty seconds to turn back on. An exception is made for those going through a family crisis.
Andreas Winterer, a freelance journalist, editor, author, blogger, media trainer, and the editor in chief for Utopia.org, explains why you should turn off your phone every once in a while. He writes:
We leave our phones on anywhere from a third to half of the day (of the week, of the year…) without using them at all. . . . This constant connectivity is maintained at the expense of dwindling battery life which forces us to charge our phones more and more frequently. In the end, the greater number of charging cycles we need will in turn reduce the overall lifespan of our smartphone. . . . Thus, we end up buying way too many new phones at the cost of environmentally destructive production processes – and only because we leave them on every night.
Using Your Phone While In Bed
Keeping your phone too close when you sleep is a problem that about 85% of the population has. I’m part of the 15%; I power down my phone every night and leave it on a different floor of my house than my bedroom. If you sleep too close to your phone, it is probably the last thing you look at before you fall doze off and the first thing you look at when you wake up. These are two signs of addiction. Those who use it as their alarm clock might find themselves starring at their devices long before they get out of bed, delaying their day. While the screen can wake you up, total dependence is never a good thing.
As an experiment, I recommend banning your phone from your bedroom for a week. University residents can leave their devices on the opposite side of their dorm room. According to Nest&Glow.com:
The blue light from screen devices has shown to suppress the bodies production of melatonin. This hormone . . . helps to regulate sleep. Your body naturally makes more melatonin at night but blue light can affect this.
It’s been shown that the body’s respiratory system can decrease in capacity by up to 30% when using a phone in bed. Less oxygen in the body means organs won’t be able to perform at optimum levels.
Sleeping With Your Phone Under Your Pillow
Please don’t do this. I’m not going to sugarcoat here—it’s not a baby tooth. I’d never heard of this phenomenon until I was in college. Many dorms don’t offer nightstands, so find another reachable location if your phone is your alarm clock. Sleeping with your phone under your pillow is detrimental to your physical and mental health. Some scientists believe the habit can lead to cancerous tumors. Since this technology is less than two decades old, the long term effects are still unknown. So why take a risk?
DailyArmy.com acknowledges how dangerous sleeping with your phone near your head is:
It’s been noted that the electromagnetic radiation released by cell phones could be carcinogenic if this occurs for a long period of time. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also been noted that those who sleep with phones by their heads have a thinner skull, which leaves them more susceptible to damage.
- Buy an alarm clock
- Buy a bedside pouch (preferably with a zippered phone pocket)
- Keep your phone at least three few away from your bed
- Try not to use electronics for an hour or two before you sleep
- Try not to use electronics thirty to sixty minutes after you wake up
- If you’re going to lay in bed with your phone, give yourself a time limit
- Place your phone somewhere where you can’t reach it unless you get out of bed
- Ignore desires to check social media (phone fasting can help)
- If your too addicted, delete your social media accounts
- Avoid using your phone during a conversation (it’s impolite)
- Have control over your device and take frequent technology breaks