Do you have trouble falling sleeping at night? And, as a result, you log onto your computer or play on your cell phone to kill time? Perhaps, you like to finish up work, connect with friends, watch TV, play games, etc. just until you feel tired enough to sleep? If so, you should know, recent research indicates your efforts may be highly counterproductive.
If you one of those people who wants to sleep but can’t and tries by tiring themselves out on electronics, you may be at risk for sleep deprivation caused by Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs).
Recently, the US and Foreign Ministry in Egypt have collaborated to provide funding for studies on the influence of cell phone radiation and similar on the central nervous system. Out of this funding, a publication was made in 2013 describing the effects 900 MHz unmodulated wave and 900MHz modulated at 8-16 Hz waves had on the brain of sleeping rats. Exposure to radiation fields for 1 hour a day for 1 continuous month caused rats to experience a delay or latency period before they experienced deep sleep, known as REM, which is necessary in humans for restful sleep.
Figure 1a. Rats Exposed to EMF
Figure 1b. Latency Period of REM
Source: Non-thermal continuous and modulated electromagnetic radiation fields effects on sleep EEG of rats. Journal of Advanced Research, Volume 4, Issue 2, March 2013, Pages 181-187.
In the past, only short duration studies have been done to evaluate EMF on humans. This is most likely due to the difficulty of enrolling test subjects for an uncomfortable laboratory study, involving overnight stay. Healthy, young subjects, who probably needed cash, were exposed to a night of EMF in the 900 Hz range, alternating from 15 minute on to 15 minute off cycles. These individuals were found able to wake faster from sleep at 12 minutes verses 18 minutes. Their non-REM eye sleep movement was also measured. The conclusion from this experiment was that pulsed EMF might promote sleep and modify the sleep cycle. However, it is notable that the experiment was only in short duration and REM was not analyzed.
In another short duration study, healthy young male volunteers underwent 2 nights of 0.25-0.8 Hz pulsed EMF exposure. Their EEG, electroencephalography or electrical activity along the scalp, was monitored and Electromagnetic Radiation was shown to be capable of having some effect on EEG characteristics of sleep.
More Research Is Needed
As review articles have highlighted, no definitive conclusions can be drawn due to the small database presently available on EMF and sleep. Many challenges exist to establishing irrefutable proof that EMF causes harm, such as a lack of overwhelming data and the need to establish the precise mechanism of action not just correlation. Meanwhile, epidemiological studies continue to suggest that there is considerable potential for injury and affliction caused by non-ionizing radiation.
Since the past decade, with the explosion of consumer electronic devices, a number of public health advocates have been calling for more research to be done on the effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure on living organisms. Recent articles have highlighted the fact that non-ionizing radiation has been considered a relatively low research priority. Unanswered questions remain as to what extent humans are impacted by electromagnetism.
Sleep experts have long recommended that you should minimize the amount of electronic device you use at night before bed. Technology is known to effect sleep through cognitive stimulation. Your brain becomes excited with activity. Now with recent research, it seems even just having the electronic devices plugged in and nearby can also cause harm.
When you go to bed, consider turning off your cell phones, tablets and laptops or at least placing them several feet away to avoid unnecessary EMF exposure. Don’t dose yourself with EMFs when you don’t need to.