Using it at night can take a harsh toll the next day. So says a new study out of Michigan State University.
The whole point of a smartphone is to make you more productive. Sure, your little gadget may lure you into the occasional round of Candy Crush or entice you to check friends’ Facebook statuses compulsively, but as a business owner, the heart of the matter is that being always connected allows you to work wherever, whenever, and squeeze a few extra hours of productivity out of the day.
But what if, despite the apparent advantages of sending those last couple of emails before you fall asleep at night, your end-of-the-day smartphone use, on balance, actually means you get less done?
Your Little Insomnia Machine
That’s what a pair of new studies out of Michigan State University implies. Led by management professor Russell Johnson, the research looked at smartphone use both among upper-level managers and a variety of mid-level professionals, like nurses and accountants, asking them to both report their nighttime smartphone use and then answer questions about their levels of alertness and productivity the next day.
What did the studies find? Using a smartphones before bed resulted in less sleep and less energy at work the next day. The researchers also determined that smartphones had more of a negative effect on alertness than watching television or using a laptop. Why? It seems smartphones offer a sleep-busting double whammy: both keeping the brain psychologically engaged and emitting "blue light" that inhibits our bodies’ ability to relax into sleep.
"Smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep because they keep us mentally engaged late into the evening, they make it hard to detach from work so we can relax and fall asleep," Johnson commented.
JESSICA STILLMAN is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist. @EntryLevelRebel