Does electromagnetic radiation emitted from modern digital devices affect sleep? This article explores and describes electromagnetic radiation effect on sleep based on scientific evidence. Read on to find out.
In an earlier post, I described the effect of blue light emitted from laptop or tv screens to sleeping patterns. But knowing this and taking action to prevent exposure to blue light apparently is not enough. I still had difficulty sleeping despite reducing my exposure to blue light. Blue light reduces melatonin levels thus disturb sleep.
I thought emissions from the WiFi adapter in my laptop might have something to do with my insomnia. So I hooked the laptop and the router together using a 10-meter RJ-45 cable run through the ceiling. I then switched off the built-in WiFi adapter on my laptop to a wired internet connection. Apparently, I slept soundly because of this change.
My experience could be considered an anecdotal evidence that the emission of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can affect sleep. I thought my observation can lend support from the scientific literature. Hence, as is my usual routine, I browsed Google Scholar for relevant research on electromagnetic radiation effect on sleep.
Is there a relationship between EMR and sleep? What does research say about the electromagnetic radiation effect on sleeping patterns? Are they related at all?
Electromagnetic Radiation Effect on Sleep
The following five papers that describe the electromagnetic radiation effect on sleep can be convincing enough.
1. Chronic (or long-term) electromagnetic field exposure causes abnormal tissue death in the brain. It also causes lung damage, paralysis, muscle tremors, and bone pain (Worthington 2007).
2. Residents exposed to electromagnetic radiation from telecommunications towers suffer insomnia. In addition, they noted other non-specific health symptoms. These symptoms include headache, giddiness, loss of memory, diarrhea, mental slowness, reduced reaction time and mood swing (Suleiman 2014).
3. Radiation from cell phone base station affects the adrenal glands. The glands stimulate the production of adrenalin and cortisol. Excess adrenaline causes insomnia (Goldsworthy 2012).
4. Electromagnetic radiation from network routers can disturb sleep (Stein 2015).
5. Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) before sleep alters brain activity thus affect sleep (Regel 2007).
These findings demonstrate dose-response relationship. This means that small doses of EMR may not cause health problems. But larger doses can produce health symptoms upon reaching a certain threshold level. The present youth are particularly vulnerable, as their life revolves around the use of these gadgets either for serious school work or at play.
Steps to Avoid Electromagnetic Radiation Exposure
One of the papers recommended that governments should impose new regulations on EMR-emitting communications infrastructure. Locating cell phone stations away from densely populated regions can reduce health risk. Chronic or long-term exposure to EMR-emitting gadgets such as cellphones, tablets, laptops, among others in the information age should be avoided.
To reduce electromagnetic radiation effects on your health, take the following steps:
1. Avoid using your electronic gadgets close to your body. Use an earphone when calling someone.
2. Connect to the internet using a cable as much as possible. If you can do so, switch off your WiFi adapter. The adapter emits more radiation the distance increases from the router. Weak router signals mean more electromagnetic radiation emitted by your gadget’s receiver.
3. Avoid going to places where people converge and use their cell phones such as malls and buses.
4. Do not sleep with your cell phone on and next to you.
5. Do not put your cellphone in your pocket. EMR has been known to cause infertility problems.
6. Avoid living near cellphone base stations. If living near one, block your house from incoming radiation with reflective aluminum insulation and painted walls.
7. Inform others about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. Encourage them to take action so that emission of EMR in your workplace or community will be reduced.
The worry of the future generation is not about visible air pollution as environmental technology gradually keeps it at bay. Invisible radiation, due to our modern communications systems, is a threat that now shows its symptoms.
What you can’t see can harm you.
Goldsworthy, A. (2012). Cell phone radiation and harmful effects: Just how much more proof do you need?.
Regel, S. J., Tinguely, G., Schuderer, J., Adam, M., Kuster, N., Landolt, H. P., & Achermann, P. (2007). Pulsed radio‐frequency electromagnetic fields: dose‐dependent effects on sleep, the sleep EEG and cognitive performance. Journal of sleep research, 16(3), 253-258.
Stein, Y., Hänninen, O., Huttunen, P., Ahonen, M., & Ekman, R. (2015). Electromagnetic Radiation and Health: Human Indicators. In Environmental Indicators (pp. 1025-1046). Springer Netherlands.
Suleiman, A., Gee, T. T., Krishnapillai, A. D., Khalil, K. M., Hamid, M. W. A., & Mustapa, M. (2014). Electromagnetic radiation health effects in exposed and non-exposed residents in Penang. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2(02), 77.
Worthington, A. (2007). The radiation poisoning of America. GlobalResearch. ca, October, 9.