Wellness Sleep Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Your Phone in Bed Sleeping with your phone can disrupt your sleep cycle, stimulate your mind, and otherwise prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. By Mark Gurarie Mark Gurarie Mark Gurarie is a freelance writer covering health topics, technology, music, books, and culture. He also teaches health science and research writing at George Washington University's School of Medical and Health Sciences. health's editorial guidelines Updated on December 22, 2022 Medically reviewed by Sameena Zahoor, MD Medically reviewed by Sameena Zahoor, MD Sameena M. Zahoor, MD, is a practicing family medicine specialist in the Michigan area. She also volunteers at the Hope Clinic, which provides free primary medical care to uninsured and under-insured patients. learn more Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page Ezequiel Giménez/Stocksy You're far from alone if you find yourself texting or scrolling on your phone in bed. Many people sleep with their phone near them. Whether it's that update first thing in the morning, social media right before sleeping, or anything in between, checking your phone in bed can affect how much sleep you get and how restful it is. Getting good sleep is critical for both mental and physical health, and your phone can make that harder. Tempting as it may be to check in or hop online—to be available for those important emails, texts, or calls—there are many reasons to be careful about smartphone use. Here's a quick overview of the risks of sleeping with your phone, and what you can do to check your habits and get better, sounder sleep. Reasons to Keep Your Phone Out of Bed There's a cost to staying connected and using your phone in bed. Researchers have consistently noted those who use devices frequently, especially at night, are more likely to report not enough and poor-quality sleep. Though their overall safety is well established, cell phones may pose additional hazards, depending on how you use them. Here's a breakdown of why it's a good idea to keep your bed phone-free. Screens Disrupt Sleep Cycles Cell phone and screen use have been directly linked to disruptions of your circadian rhythm, or natural sleep-wake cycle. As noted in research, the blue light emitted by cell phones inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you drowsy. Melatonin levels usually increase before you go to sleep but blue light suppresses the levels of melatonin. This makes it more difficult to fall asleep since you are more alert and not as sleepy as you normally would be. Your sleep cycle includes REM sleep (a stage characterized by rapid eye movements and dreams), which helps with your memory and emotional processing. Along with reducing melatonin levels, nighttime exposure to blue light can reduce the length of REM sleep, which can make you feel less alert and it may take longer to be fully awake in the morning. In bed, or even before it, researchers have found exposure to the light from screens can impact sleep. A 2018 review noted that screen use within one to two hours of going to bed negatively impacted sleep, with the effect particularly pronounced in toddlers and children. Phones Stimulate Your Mind It's not just the glow of the screen that interrupts sleep. Consider how you interact with your device. Phones are a boundless source of information and stimulation, which can provoke a state of arousal and alertness. This can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Not only that, the interactive nature of smartphones or devices—that they require active controlling—seems to make matters worse. Some studies suggest nighttime phone usage, as well as other interactive devices like video games, have a more pronounced effect on sleep than more passive nighttime screen activities, such as watching TV. Phones May Pose a Fire or Burn Risk Though very rare, only arising in isolated incidents, there is the risk of your phone's battery catching on fire. A phone explosion or fire in bed has the potential to cause significant harm. A recent review article noted that overheated or burning batteries have been linked with several cases of second-degree burns. This type causes: PainBlisteringFluid dischargesSwellingSloughing, or the loss of the upper layers of skin Because of the risk of serious burn injury, Samsung had to recall one million Galaxy Note7 phones in 2016. Getting Better Sleep Knowing that phones can interrupt your sleep, it's important to think about what you can do to regulate and manage your use. Since technology can particularly impact teens and children, parents should be particularly mindful and ready to establish solid ground rules. What can you do to stop your phone from affecting your sleep? Here's a breakdown: Try to limit overall screen time: Not only have researchers found nighttime use to be a problem, they've linked poor sleep and overall time spent in front of screens. Figuring out ways to cut back on phone, device, computer, and/or TV time can help with sleep. Make the bed a screen-free zone: Your bed should be for resting or sleeping only. Given the effects of the glow emitted by phones and the way they're stimulating, consider keeping devices and phones out of bedrooms, or placing a moratorium on use for at least an hour before bedtime. Never do work in bed. Set up nighttime mode: If your phone is nearby, notifications and late-night texts can cut into your rest. Consider keeping your phone on nighttime or do-not-disturb mode at night. Create a ritual: A consistent and relaxing ritual before bed can also help make going to sleep easier. Try a relaxing bath, meditation, reading, or listening to relaxing music for a little while before climbing into bed. Keep your bedtimes consistent. Adjust the lighting: Bright lights, such as 100-watt light bulbs, can reduce melatonin levels, making it harder to fall asleep. Keep the lighting in your bedroom dimmer and lower intensity. A Quick Review Given how much they can do, it's little wonder that smartphones have integrated themselves into every aspect of our lives and, indeed, made it to our bedrooms. However, nighttime screen use negatively impacts sleep; it makes it tougher to fall and stay asleep and can interrupt your natural sleep cycles. Limiting nighttime and overall use and keeping your bed a comfortable, screen-free zone can help ensure better quality rest. Giving your body the sleep it needs is a critical part of maintaining your overall mental and physical health, and it may mean checking your phone habits. If you regularly experience trouble sleeping or are concerned about your device use, talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 5 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Rod N, Dissing A, Clark A, Gerds T, Lund R. Overnight smartphone use: a new public health challenge? A novel study design based on high-resolution smartphone data. PLoS One. 2018;13(10):e0204811. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0204811 Hale L, Kirschen G, LeBourgeois M et al. Youth screen media habits and sleep. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2018;27(2):229-245. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2017.11.014 Mankowski PJ, Kanevsky J, Bakirtzian P, Cugno S. Cellular phone collateral damage: a review of burns associated with lithium battery powered mobile devices. Burns. 2016;42(4):e61-e64. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2015.10.012 United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Samsung recalls Galaxy Note7 smartphones due to serious fire and burn hazards. National Sleep Foundation. Be your best slept self.