is sleeping next to your laptop bad?
Sleep Safety

Is It Bad To Sleep Next To Your Laptop?

Last Updated on: 30th September 2023, 08:46 am

Steps must be taken to ensure a laptop computer doesn’t keep you awake at night.

Sleeping with your head next to a laptop will disrupt sleep. The LED lights of the screen and loud humming, plus notification sounds, will keep you awake.

Resist the temptation to use your computer if it remains within reach.

Always take the time to shut down your computer 1 hour before bedtime. Also, keep the laptop off your pillow or bedside table so you can’t break it and aren’t tempted to use it.

What Happens if You Sleep Next to Your Laptop?

Sleeping in a room without a laptop isn’t always possible in today’s 24/7 society.

Even if that’s the case, you needn’t spend the night with a laptop near your head. So, you should move the computer to the other side of the room.

If you move in your sleep, which you almost certainly will, you may knock the laptop off the bed onto the floor, causing damage to the screen or electronic components.

If you sleep beside a laptop, the hazards aren’t limited to computer breakage.

Here’s why experts consider sleeping next to a laptop bad:

How far should you sleep from your laptop?

Bright Lights

Sleep and Biological Rhythms discusses how electronic appliances, like laptops, reduce sleep quality. This is due to the bright screen lights, which keep us up even without looking at them.

Laptop screens have blue wavelengths intended to keep us mentally sharp and alert. That’s ideal if you use your laptop for work during the day but less so if you want to sleep.

If you decide to sleep next to a laptop, use a blue light filter to reduce light exposure.

Higher Temperatures

All laptops have a cooling fan to prevent the computer from overheating. However, a fan can only do so much, and laptops will always increase in temperature with further usage.

Why is heat from a laptop bad for you? We all sleep better in a cool room, with excessive heat keeping us awake. A hot laptop on the pillow or bedsheets will lead to sleeplessness.

There’s also a fire risk. The hotter a laptop runs, the higher the risk of an electrical fire, especially when coupled with flammable cotton bed sheets. If a laptop is charging, the risk is further elevated.


While a computer may start running silently or humming like a sports car, it’ll eventually get louder. The hum of a laptop comes from prolonged use because the cooling fan works harder.

Laptops make other distracting, annoying noises overnight. You may receive notifications like alerts to a new email or operating system update.


Advance in Electronic and Electric Engineering stated that a laptop exposes us to low radiation levels, like a cellphone. The question is, is computer radiation harmful to humans?

There are concerns over the long-term repercussions of keeping a laptop too close. For example, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine links prolonged laptop radiation to decreased fertility.

Cancer concerns have also been raised about laptop radiation. Regardless, it’s best to avoid sleeping next to a laptop or having a cell phone under your pillow for 7-9 hours.

Psychological Impact

The main problem with sleeping with a laptop next to you is temptation. We’re all prone to checking our social media accounts on smartphones and tablets long into the night.

Perhaps you have a sudden thought about work, and to ease the feeling of anxiety gnawing at your stomach, you decide to check your email. You get your answer and send a reply. Then, you stay awake in case you get a response.

While you have your laptop on, did you remember to pay all your bills this month? Maybe it’s advisable to check your balances, just in case. Oh, and wasn’t there a sports game that night? Let’s check the score. And hey, a quick peek at Twitter can’t hurt.

Before you know it, you could have spent over an hour online and be wide awake. You’ll have to start the sleep hygiene process again, which won’t result in a good night’s rest.

what happens if you sleep next to your laptop?

How Far Should You Sleep from Your Laptop?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends keeping a laptop at least 20 cm away.

This advice is impractical because we constantly breach these recommendations at home and work. The recommended energy exposure limit will likely be revisited in the future.

Do Laptops Emit Radiation When Turned Off?

Even if a laptop is shut down, it emits electromagnetic radiation.

If your computer is on standby, it may search for a WiFi or Bluetooth connection. A wired connection will emit less radiation than a wireless setup.

How To Avoid Using A Laptop at Night

The easiest way to avoid using a laptop at night is to keep it out of reach.

Shut down the computer and place it in another room. Any temptation will be tempered by the fact that you’ll need to get out of bed to reach the computer.

A restless, insomniac brain can be stubborn. That may not be enough to stop you from finding the computer and booting it up.

One solution is to install an app or browser extension that blocks certain websites for set periods. This will keep you off social media, email accounts, and other online locations that disturb your sleep.

Of course, it’s easy to say, “Just power your laptop down.” To maximize the potential for a good night’s sleep, keep your computer away from where you sleep.