Reports that smartphones are detrimental to health are nothing new. Boston Magazine reported in December 2013 that constant checking of social media, email, and text messages on smartphones causes eye and vision problems. Symptoms reported by doctors at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear infirmary include dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and shoulder strain.
Other more alarming suggestions concerning health and smartphone use are reports that the devices are carcinogenic, cause fertility in men, and are harbingers of unimaginable numbers of germs. A more down-to-earth and accessible report comes from the Huffington Post. The news aggregatorreported in January on the effects of smartphone use before going to sleep. A study that appeared in the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processing found that using cell phones before going to sleep can be detrimental to quality sleep. Less quality sleep can cause an individual to be less focused and engaged the following day.
A total of 82 managers were surveyed for two weeks with respect to smartphone use. Smartphone use, sleep habits, and productivity were measured. The study found that the use of smartphones after 9 pm at night affected sleep quality, which reduced individual capacity to engage at work.
Screen time seems to be the culprit; however, the study also included an additional study of employees from various industry fields and their use of other types of electronics. Desktops, laptops, tablets and TVs were included in the study of 161 participants. Similar results to those of smartphone use were found; however, smartphones were found to have a greater negative effect. Participants who used smartphones at night experienced greater sleep disruption and less productivity the following day. The article suggests that smartphones make it harder for individuals to relax and detach from work.
Recent trends point toward increasing use of mobile devices both at home and at work. Companies are scrambling to develop mobile-enabling infrastructure. It might be wise, therefore, to develop healthier habits with mobile devices and maintain productivity during the day.
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