is it bad to sleep with your phone under your pillow?
Sleep Safety

Can You Sleep with Your Phone Under Your Pillow?

Last Updated on September 30, 2023 by Louise Carter

It may seem like a good idea to slide your phone under the pillow just before falling asleep so it can be accessed more easily if the alarm goes off or someone calls you.

Sleeping with a phone under the pillow can cause health problems and safety hazards. Overheated cell phone chargers, often due to improper charging and incompatibility, can cause house fires.

You’ve probably heard discussions about how cell phones disturb your sleep and cause cancer, brushing these concerns off because none of it could be true. If so, think again.

From now on, it’s better to sleep with your phone away from your head.

Is It Bad To Sleep with Your Phone Under Your Pillow?

Cell phones and other wireless devices emit radiation, which can be extremely harmful.

Have you ever been told not to stand in front of a microwave while heating food? This is because microwaves emit radiation, which is carcinogenic.

While radiation is incredibly dangerous, and all wireless and many electronic devices emit it, how soon you’ll experience the detrimental effects of radiation (if at all) varies considerably.

Sleeping with a phone under your pillow puts radiation near your head while asleep. This means you’ll be exposed to radiation for 7-9 hours without interruption.

effects of sleeping with phone near head

Effects of Sleeping with Phone Near Head

Mobile phones produce radiation even when they’re not actively being used. Cell phones give off radiation when you use or charge them, even under a pillow while sleeping.

However, they produce the highest radiation level when being used. You can experience various unpleasant symptoms after sleeping with a cell phone near your head, including:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Muscle pains.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Increased brain activity.
  • Cognitive and behavioral issues.
  • Fertility problems.
  • Cancer risk.

Moving the phone away from your head while sleeping is recommended if you’ve woken up with these symptoms or experienced them during or after cell phone usage.

Does Sleeping Next To A Phone Cause Headaches?

According to the Saudi Medical Journal, mobile phone radiation causes headaches, tension, fatigue, dizziness, and sleep disturbance.

Occupational Medicine stated that headaches and migraines are often due to cell phone usage. Varying sensations, like a burning feeling or a dull ache, begin in different parts of the head.

Many people developed a headache within minutes of beginning a call, while others reported onset later in the day. Some headaches ceased within 1 hour of ending the call, while others lasted hours.

No participants experienced headaches during or after using a wired phone.

All the headaches occurred when people were using mobile phones with low-level radiofrequency radiation (RFR) below the allowable limits.

Considering how close your phone is to your head while you’re sleeping, you can experience a headache from sleeping with your phone under your pillow.

Does Sleeping Next To A Phone Cause Cancer?

While there’s no scientific evidence directly linking mobile phone usage to cancer, there’s the potential for mobile phone radiation to be carcinogenic.

Simply sleeping next to your phone is unlikely to cause cancer. However, the long-term usage of cell phones can lead to the development of cancer later in life.

The Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine stated that the International Agency for Research on Cancer had classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields associated with cell phone use as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that it’s difficult to directly link cancer with cell phone usage because most cancers don’t become detectable until many years after exposure.

People concerned about the risk of cancer due to radiofrequency should limit their exposure, like using an earpiece instead of holding the phone to their ear.

Is It Bad To Sleep with A Cell Phone Charging Next To You?

Overall, sleeping with a phone charging next to you is unhealthy, and having a phone close to you all night can lead to sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure (hypertension).

According to the International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering, sleeping near a phone or even in a home with Wi-Fi can cause chronic sleep problems.

Aside from sleep problems, many health professionals agree that sleeping next to a mobile phone is a sign that you’re overly dependent on it.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stated that addictive cell phone use and dependency could result in problems such as:

  • Shortened sleep durations.
  • Depression.
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Difficulties falling asleep.
  • Difficulties staying asleep.
  • Interference between work and home.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Social anxiousness and loneliness.
  • Decreased self-esteem.
  • Reduced coping abilities.

Every notification alert, text, or phone call alerts the brain when your phone is close to you. Your curiosity about who’s texting or calling or what the notification is about keeps your mind active.

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep Next To A Cell Phone

Sleeping next to a phone, especially while it’s charging, can cause problems that can be easily remedied by moving your phone further away while sleeping.

Fall Asleep Sooner

The phone is distracting when it’s close to you while trying to sleep.

Staying on it too long, picking it up every time it makes a sound, and the glow from the phone can prevent you from falling asleep.

Moving the phone out of arm’s reach or turning it off at night will assist with sleep.

Bedtime Routine

When the phone is next to you in bed, you’ll likely be on it until you can no longer stay awake.

Positioning your phone further away from your bed, perhaps in another room, allows you to find ways to relax that might help you sleep better, like reading a book or taking a warm shower.

what can happen if you sleep with your phone under your pillow?

Safety

Sleeping with a phone charging next to you can be a fire hazard. The balance of positive and negative electrodes in lithium-ion phone batteries can lead to a volatile reaction or explosion.

Having the phone on your bed while charging can also lead to a fire, especially if charger wires are exposed. If something else goes wrong, you could be electrocuted by the phone charger.

How Far Away Should Your Phone Be When You Sleep?

Many people like sleeping with their phones under their pillows because it enables them to hear their wake-up call better or feel their alarm if they have turned it on to vibrate.

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t leave a phone beside your head or body because it’s unsafe.

Phones can get hot, even when they’re not charging. Having a phone sandwiched between a pillow and bed could cause it to get even hotter, leading to the charger catching on fire or exploding.

You should keep a cell phone at least 3 feet away while asleep. This separation reduces distractions, meaning you can get a better night’s sleep.

If you’re prone to headaches, dizziness, or nausea first thing in the morning, you might also notice a reduction in these symptoms after moving the phone further away.

Not having your phone next to you may make you uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it eventually. You may not even miss it once you start sleeping soundly again.