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Can the light from your phone harm your eyes at night?

By August 26, 2014 - 10:36am
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I sleep with my phone next to my bed every night just in case there is ever an emergency with a friend or family member. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I can't help but look at my phone. Sometimes I'll read texts and emails if I have them too. I heard that light from your phone at night can be harmful to your eyes and disrupt your sleep. Is that true?

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Hi Kristin,

Thanks for that great answer and advice! That's a good idea to keep the phone on silent, while still being able to hear a voicemail message come in, in case of emergency. 

I definitely notice the eye strain when I wake up in the middle of the night to look at my phone. I also feel like my eyes are dry if I look at my phone in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. 

Thanks for the help! :)

August 26, 2014 - 1:55pm

Hi Erin!

Thank you for sharing your question with the EmpowHER community. We are so addicted to our phones aren't we!! Remember the days when we had home phones by the bed (for emergencies) and waited till we got to the office to respond to emails?!? I often wonder how we got our jobs done and chatted with friends in a typical 16 hour day! 

Let's address two things here. First, WebMD suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day. So, if you have your phone by your bed and are responding to texts and emails, you probably aren't getting the right amount of sleep, or good quality sleep. If you aren't getting a restful sleep, your productivity once you clock in at the office won't be as good had you slept well. In all honesty your boss will probably thank you if you opt to turn off your ringer, get a restful night and walk into the office bright eyed! I turn my phone to silent at night so that I don't hear the ding of emails (especially all of those pesky spam emails that start the day off with midnight notifications). If there is an emergency, I can hear the voicemail buzz. Give it a try!

Secondly, let's address your actual question about the harm it may be causing reading your texts and emails in low to no light. A study published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that reading in low light does not damage eyes, but rather causes eye strain. Eye strain is no joke and should be taken seriously. 

It's a personal decision, but I'd suggest that it's probably best not to stress your eyes unnecessarily. 

Here's a great article from our community that talks about warning signs if you need to get your eyes checked. I am sure your vision is just fine, but depending on how long and how often you read in the dark, here are some helpful things to be aware of. https://www.empowher.com/vision-problems/content/vision-warning-signs-aging-eyes

Hope this helps Erin!

Let me know what you think!



August 26, 2014 - 12:53pm
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