|Why I Love and Hate Having A Smartphone from The Oatmeal|
I use my iPhone as my alarm clock, but I've noticed a problem. When I hear that familiar buzz from the phone, no matter the time of night, I will usually roll over and glance at the text or Twitter message. It's almost Pavlovian. I barely know I'm doing it until I realize it's 1:30am and I'm replying to a Twitter message about the latest Teefury offering.
I'm sleep deprived because I sleep with my iPhone. Smartphones almost seem to be the adult equivalent of a teddy bear or security blanket. They go everywhere with us, they entertain us and they share our beds. I used to lay in bed reading a chapter or two of a book before bedtime, now I'm glued to Twitter.
Curious about this phenomena, I searched Google (on my iPhone, while lying in bed, of course) and discovered a study done last year by Amanda Lenhart, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project's research on teens, children and families. Buried between interesting facts about text message use, there were some fascinating statistics about people who sleep with their cell phones. Yes, I did just use "statistics" and "fascinating" in a sentence together.
Two-thirds of American adults have slept with their cell phones in or near their beds. This number jumps to over 90% among people ages 18 to 29. Additionally, people who sleep with their smartphones are also twice as likely to feel positively about them. We basically bond with them. Keeping your phone close, even when you sleep, is quickly becoming the norm.
People are more plugged in than ever before, thanks to our dearly loved phones. It's almost become cyberpunk in a way. You mean my friends in California can tweet at me even while I'm asleep? Once a dear friend across the country even texted me a wake up call because I had overslept the day before. Technology! Progress! Yay!
But it's not all status updates and sunshine. Sleeping with your phone is also responsible for the drop in the amount of hours people sleep per night. In a study done in Belgium in 2008, 1,600 teenagers were surveyed about their cell phone use. 60% of the teens who used their cell phones after turning off their lights at bedtime reported feeling tired during the day. Another study from April of this year saw a correlation between after hours cell phone use and increased percentages of depression in people aged 20 to 24.
So where does that leave us, except exhausted? I wish I could say after finding all this out that I will turn my phone off when I sleep or leave it on my desk and not cuddled near me in bed. I'd like to lie and say I will not look at a screen before going to bed, but I won't. I will probably still turn over in bed to look at my phone with bleary eyes when I hear the little "vrrm" of my iPhone's vibrate setting. I can't help it. Going to bed without my iPhone would be like telling my six year old self to go to bed without her favorite teddy bear. I've become utterly dependent on it. What's a 21st century gal to do?
Do you sleep with your smartphone? After seeing these numbers, are you going to change your smartphone sleeping ways? Tell me in comments what you do to get a good night's sleep. I will need all the help I can get.