Electronics, Light and the Science of Sleep
There is robust scientific data documenting the role of light in promoting wakefulness. Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark, signaling our brain about the status of the outside world and aligning our circadian rhythms (centered in a small region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus) to the external day-night cycle. This signaling of light and dark helps us to be alert in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate time at night. The power of light as an alerting agent is easily conceptualized when we think of the sun, but may be more difficult to appreciate when considering the light emitted from a tablet or smartphone.
Nonetheless, careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness. As adults we are subject to these influences and our children are particularly susceptible.
Children, Electronics and Sleep
The increasing prevalence of electronics in children’s bedrooms creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness. Literature shows that:
- Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes, experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.
- Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bedtimes, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times.
- Texting and emailing after lights outs, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.
- Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children and their work is often completed on the computer, a significant light source late in the evening.
- Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules and the lure of entertainment conspire to keep our children electronically engaged at night.
Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control. Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom.
In 2008, Tiffany Shlain’s father, Leonard, was diagnosed with brain cancer, and she began to change her use of technology when the two of them were together. “Some days he would have only one good hour,” she later wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “and I didn’t want to be distracted when I was with him, so I’d turn off my cellphone.”
Find out the rest of the story here, it’s really incredible.
We’re typically here to talk about the health ramifications of too much electronic exposure, but what about the effects on mental health?
Here’s some food for thought today. Check out the rest of the photo series here
There will be no facet of our lives that will remain untouched by 5G.
Here are just a few of things 5G has in store for us:
- Irreplaceable physical health
- Precious mental, emotional well-being
- Sacred privacy lost
- Priceless environment in jeopardy
All impacted by this new “promising” technology.
As it turned out, industry knew that asbestos was causing lung disease, but conspired to cover it up and allow hundreds of thousands to suffer. 
Same with the tobacco companies.
Big Tobacco tricked hundreds of millions of people into thinking that smoking was not only not harmful, but possibly good for your health. And they got away with it for decades. [28,29]
The time-line of lies regarding “safe” things that were really dangerous provide detailed evidence of how industry and government agencies conspired to suppress the truth and promote money-making products. 
Don’t think Big Wireless wouldn’t, couldn’t, or isn’t already putting profits before people. Check out the rest of the story here:
Is 5G Dangerous? What The Science Says
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been studying the effect of screen time for children. The preliminary results are in and they’re not good.
The NIH report shows that nine- and ten-year-old children who spend more than two hours in front of a screen each day score lower on thinking and language tests. This is troubling since the average “tweenager” spends up to six hours a day on their tablet or phone.
In addition, scientists have found that children with daily screen usage of more than seven hours show premature thinning of the brain cortex. This is the outermost layer that processes information from the physical world. While it’s too soon to know with certainty that screen time usage caused the changes to the children’s brains, scientists will be monitoring this relationship carefully.
Are your children addicted to technology?
The NIH report is just one example of the growing effect of technology on our children. Another study related smartphone use by children to sleep deprivation and other problems associated with poor attention spans. This is alarming since two-thirds of children take their smartphones to bed with them.
One group of scientists found that the more time four-year-olds spent interacting with media, the shorter their sleep was at ages four and six. A study published by Harvard Medical School has shown that blue-tinged light emitted by devices such as smartphones and tablets suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone vital to good sleep.
Practical ways to manage technology
In The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, Andy Crouch offers practical commitments parents can make to help their children and family manage technology. Among them:
- Turn off technology one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year.
- Use screens for a purpose and together rather than aimlessly and alone.
- Dedicate car time to conversation with no technology.
- Be sure spouses have each other’s passwords and parents have complete access to their children’s devices.
I would add this: community is vital to our souls. We were made to do life together. Every image of the church in the New Testament is collective–a vine with many branches, a body with many parts.
By contrast, technology isolates us. For every family that plays a video game together, there are multitudes of children (and parents) who play them alone. A computer or handheld device is intentionally isolating. It’s hard for two people to use one keyboard or focus on the same screen. Such isolation can be devastating.
Full article available here:
I came across this article recently dealing with the limiting of WiFi Radiation in the First Public School District in the U.S. I found it on the Environmental Health Trust web site http://ehtrust.org/. According to Environmental Health Trust, Ashland, Massachusetts Public Schools have implemented WiFi Device “Best Practices” which include turning the WiFi off when not in use and keeping devices on a table.
Based on its own review of the matter, the Ashland Public School District is reducing wireless radiation exposures to children by instituting district wide “best practices for mobile devices”. Prompted by parent Cecelia Doucette’s concerns about the lack of safety data on WiFi and children, the district investigated the issue and developed a policy to substantially reduce wireless exposures to students and staff. Doucette not only brought the issue to the district’s attention, but then also worked with state legislatures who introduced two bills concerning electromagnetic radiation this session.
Since wireless devices are constantly emitting radiation even when the user is not using the Internet, the instruction to “turn it off when not in use ” stops the WiFi antennas from continuously emitting radiation and is one simple way to reduce the radiation dose and exposure time for children and staff.
The Ashland School district posted instructions for “Best Practices” in every classroom and include:
– Turn off the device when not in use
– Turn WiFi on only when needed
– Always place the mobile device on a solid surface – instead of your lap
– Viewing distance should be a minimum of 12 inches from the screen
– Specific product information guides are available through the IT department
– We ask that staff members regularly remind and instruct students in using best practices in regards to mobile devices
Keep laptop 12 inches away
Ashland’s Best Practice of “keeping the device on a table” and no closer than a 12 inch viewing distance is critically important. Laptops and tablets have fine print warnings buried in their manuals specifically stating that the laptop should be at least 8 inches away from the user so that the user is not exposed to radiation levels that exceed as-tested FCC levels. If a device is used on a lap, as is common practice, the student could receive radiation levels far exceeding FCC limits. FCC limits are set to prevent the radiation from heating the brain and body but are not set to avoid chronic impacts on the developing nervous system or reproductive organs.
Many are unaware of FCC fine print advisories in the manuals of every wireless device confirming as-tested distances set to avoid heating. Cell phones, laptops and even baby monitors have these specific instructions in their product information guides. By referring to the product information guides, Ashland Public Schools are informing people about the need to keep a distance between the device and our bodies. As a public service, Environmental Health Trust (EHT) has compiled these fine print warnings on their website http://www.showthefineprint.org/.
Baby Monitors can be extremely dangerous
It is important to note that even if users comply with these FCC recommended distances as stated in the device manual, accumulating research shows that biological damage can occur from wireless radiation levels far lower than these FCC levels. FCC limits are only set to protect people from heating harm and do not address non-thermal effects.
This ground breaking policy action by the Massachusetts school district is indicative of the wave of parents raising concerns about WiFi across the country. Ashland, Massachusetts parent Cecelia Doucette wrote an article in Ashland Local Town Pages about these new best practices. News and print media have picked the issue up after Massachusetts parents filed a lawsuit against a private boarding school alleging the school did not accommodate their 12-year-old child’s diagnosed debilitating sensitivity to the school’s WiFi system.
Ashland is the first US public school to create such policy on wireless transmitting devices. However, this US Massachusetts school district now joins dozens of schools and governments that have already implemented even more stringent measures to reduce wireless exposure to children. For example, Israel and France have banned WiFi in kindergarten. The European Union recommends wired Internet rather than wireless in schools.
“Right To Know” efforts by local governments are also moving across the United States. A judge just upheld Berkeley’s new “Cell Phone Right To Know” Ordinance which requires cell phone sellers to tell customers about these FCC radio frequency radiation distances.
Suffolk County in New York voted to label wireless routers in all public buildings including schools. The US United Federation of Teachers Union now hosts a webpage on how to reduce exposures to protect pregnant women, other staff members and students.
I would go even farther. With a cell phone, iPad, Tablet or Kindle, when reading make sure the Airplane mode is ON and WiFi & Bluetooth are OFF. Note: you won’t be able to receive any voice, text or data in this mode – but if you are reading you probably don’t want to be disturbed.
WiFi / Wireless Meter
I would also recommend a survey of your home and office with a meter to make sure cordless phones or WiFi printers (just to name a couple) are not polluting your environment. The Acousticom 2 is a great meter to do this with. https://stopdirtyelectricity.com/wirelessrf/