America's Favorite Bedside Companion?

Various scientific studies have linked smartphone usage in bed to inferior quality of sleep, and yet, millions of Americans cannot resist the allure of checking their Twitter timeline one more time before falling asleep. According to research conducted by Common Sense Media, 40 percent of teenagers and 26 percent of parents in the U.S. check their smartphone within five minutes of going to bed and a significant proportion of Americans even use their mobile device in the middle of the night.

While most smartphone are equipped with a so called night mode these days to limit the negative effects of bedside smartphone use, these are merely filtering out blue light which suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. What these “night modes” cannot do is limit the negative effects that smartphones and their steady stream of stimulation have on people’s ability to unwind and fall asleep.

It’s not just at night that smartphones make for an unhealthy but popular bedside companion. Checking your phone right after waking up isn’t the best idea either. Instead of waking up slowly and sorting their thoughts for the day ahead, smartphones divert people’s attention away from their own thoughts by confronting them with the outside world immediately. As our chart illustrates, early morning smartphone use is nearly as prevalent as it is late at night.


This chart shows when Americans first use their smartphones after waking up and when they last use it before going to sleep.