When NOT to use a cell phone

Although mobile phones and other electronic devices can help us increase the efficiency of not only our work, there are times when it is better to put these helpers aside. In this article, we will look at the specific parts of the day for which this rule applies.

Blue light before bed

LED lighting has replaced most standard light bulbs. It is characterized by a long service life and low consumption. But like everything in life, it also has its negatives. If you don't go for warm light, it emits a lot of blue light. This blue light emitted by electronic devices such as cell phones can suppress excretion melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep cycles.

As a result, it may be harder for us to fall asleep or we may experience disruption of sleep quality as such. According to American Sleep Foundation  blue light sends a signal to our brain that it's still daytime, so we can feel more alert even in the late hours. 

It is therefore better to avoid the bright blue light from mobile or computer screens in the evening and especially before going to bed, and engage in other activities that do not require the use of mobile devices.

But let's face it, each of us likes to watch a series in the evening or deal with pending messages from friends. Therefore, as an alternative solution in the evening, people use special glasses with a blue light filter, which protect us from blue light at least partially protect. (Avoid screens per se if you want to be safe.)

Blue light filters

Another option is to turn on the blue light filter features directly on your device. All classic devices can:

  • Blue Light Filter on Windows: Night Light
  • Blue light filter on iPhone and Macbook: Night Shift
  • Blue light filter on Android: Night light or reading mode

In addition to the already mentioned functions, the so-called red filter can also be turned on manually - e.g. on the iPhone via Accessibility - Display and text size - Color filters - Color tinting (after turning on the filter, the screen will turn red and blue light will be "filtered out").

You can find out how much such a filter can capture here.

A black and white mode, for example, works on a similar principle, i.e. a filter of different colors. If we don't see colors on the mobile screen, we don't enjoy the mobile as much and as a result we spend less time looking at it.

Of course, you also have much more sophisticated blue light filter options than the native features in various systems. The synonym for this area in the Czech Republic is Hynek Medřicky and the most popular application is Flux (You have to download and install Flux, which can be its biggest disadvantage, especially in a corporate environment).

Waking up and getting up

When we wake up in the morning, our brain begins to switch from sleep mode to wakefulness - it happens gradually. However, as soon as we reach for the mobile phone and start reading messages or handling emails, we force the brain to skip some important stages of awakening.

In addition, going through emails, new work tasks or negative news can quickly stress us out and ruin our day in the morning. Checking social media, on the other hand, can distract us from important morning activities – hand on heart, when was the last time you were horrified to find that a quick social media check turned into a half-hour session? 

If you tend to check your phone first thing in the morning, try leaving it in the next room before going to bed and use a classic alarm clock, or set Airplane mode before going to bed and deactivate it only when you leave for work.

Meal time

According to studies published in the scientific journal Physiology & Behavior, we eat more calories if we use our phone while eating. Mobile devices take our attention away from food and our brain cannot accurately perceive the amount of food we eat.

This also applies to other "distractions" - in the study, people ate more calories even when reading printed text, and the total amount of calories increased by about 15% in a situation where people paid attention to their phone or reading while eating. It probably goes without saying that we enjoy food much more when we really focus on it.

Circadian rhythm of the body - internal clock

Each of us has a so-called circadian rhythm (daily clock). Man is "programmed" to perceive the alternation of day and night. And everything is controlled by the hormone melatonin, which was already discussed at the beginning of the article. In the evening (darkness) the body prepares for sleep. Melatonin begins to form and we are more sleepy. Blue light works by suppressing melatonin production - the body "thinks" it's still daytime.

Light also generally stimulates, for example, the release of another hormone - serotonin, which is involved in the creation of moods. Low serotonin means more depression, sleep disturbances or irritability. A lot of serotonin usually means headaches, sweating or general malaise. Under ideal conditions, all values are normal or in balance at the right time. Behavior in extremes is also interesting: Polar Day brings greater activity. Polar night then more frustration and depression.

Source: https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirkadi%C3%A1nn%C3%AD_rytmus

In conclusion

If you are used to using a mobile phone or tablet in the situations mentioned above, especially before going to bed, you can try an experiment on yourself and try to perform these activities without them for a while. Then ask yourself the question - how has my morning routine changed and how do I feel when I check my mobile, for example, up to 20 minutes after waking up? Do I sleep differently if I use a red filter before bed or if I put my mobile device down an hour before bed? You will see for yourself whether these changes will be beneficial for you personally.