is sleeping next to your laptop bad?
Questions And Answers

Is It Bad To Sleep Next To Your Laptop?

If your home lacks the space for a dedicated home office or computer room, you may need to keep a laptop in your bedroom.

If this is the case, special precautions may need to be taken to ensure the presence of a computer doesn’t keep you awake at night.

Sleeping with your head next to a laptop is sure to disrupt sleep. The LED lights of the screen and loud humming, plus notification sounds, will disturb the peace.

You’ll need to resist the temptation to use your computer if it remains within reach.

Laptops are best kept out of the bedroom, and if they must be used in this part of the home, always take the time to shut down your computer long before bed. Also, keep it away from your pillow or bedside table, as this is the only way a laptop will not keep you up at night.

Is it Safe to Have a Computer in Your Bedroom?

The omnipresence of technology in modern life leaves us facing some tough decisions.

Computers and the internet play a significant role in our lives, but we’re advised to be careful about how much time we spend in front of screens, especially before bed.

The role of the computer in the 21st Century is particularly interesting. In many respects, we carry portable computers in our pocket in the form of smartphones or even wear them on our wrists now that smartwatches are increasingly commonplace.

This means that the humble laptop, once the single most crucial piece of hardware in any home, is relegated to occasional or professional use. Many of us still need to use computers for business purposes, as tablets cannot meet all our needs.

If we only use laptops for work, there’s theoretically no need for the hardware to enter a bedroom. Some people use laptops for other purposes, like watching movies and keeping up with correspondence.

The clue is also in the name, as a laptop fits on our lap, so it’s completely mobile. It’s easy to move a computer into the bedroom, and if you’re working from home or conducting private business, that may be unavoidable. For some families, a dedicated computer room is a pipe dream.

If you keep a laptop in your bedroom, you need to be mindful of when and how you use it. We just compared smartphones to laptops, and as per Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, late-night smartphone use can impact sleep.

As part of a healthy sleep hygiene routine, it’s advisable to keep a laptop out of the bedroom and avoid screen exposure at night for around an hour before bed.

What Happens if You Sleep Next to Your Laptop?

As mentioned, it’s not always possible to sleep in a room without a laptop present. Even if that’s the case, you don’t need to spend the night sleeping with a laptop near your head. You should at least move the computer to the other side of the room.

The first danger is the potential for the computer to break. If you move in your sleep, which you almost certainly will, you may knock the laptop off the bed into the floor. If you’re unfortunate, this may render the hardware useless in the morning.

However, the hazards aren’t limited to your computer if you sleep beside a laptop. Five core risks arise if you try to retire for the night before moving a laptop out of your immediate vicinity. These are the explanations as to why experts consider sleeping next to a laptop bad.

what happens if you sleep next to your laptop?

Bright Lights

Sleep and Biological Rhythms discusses how using electronic appliances at night, including laptops, reduces the quality of sleep that we enjoy. This is primarily due to the bright lights of a screen, which can keep us up even if we’re not looking straight at them.

Laptop screens run on blue wavelengths designed to keep us mentally sharp and alert. That’s great if you’re using your laptop for work during the day. Less so if you’re trying to sleep a night.

If you must sleep next to a laptop, use a blue light filter to keep light exposure to a minimum. This will stop your eye from being drawn to the screen and keep your brain awake. It’s better to avoid any kind of screen light at night.

Higher Temperatures

Laptops also run hot. All laptops have a cooling fan to prevent the computer from growing uncomfortable during use. A fan can only do so much, though, and laptops will always increase in temperature over time. If it’s by your head in bed, that’s not a good thing.

So, why is heat from a laptop bad for you? It’s simply a matter of logistics. 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 a questionable night of slumber.

There’s also the fire risk that comes from excessive heat. The hotter your laptop runs, the greater the risk of an electrical fire, especially when coupled with body heat and flammable cotton bed sheets or pajamas.

Noise

Laptops can also be loud. 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, as the cooling fan is getting increasingly overworked.

Even if you manage to avoid this outcome, laptops can make other distracting, annoying noises overnight. You may receive notification sounds, such as alerts to a new email or website update. If you’re a light sleeper, this can keep waking you overnight.

Radiation

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

Naturally, any kind of radiation means that it’s best not to sleep next to a laptop. Opinion varies as to just how much damage computer radiation does. Some claim that the radiation lacks the intensity and frequency to do damage, while others disagree.

Those that express concern over laptop use believe that long-term repercussions arise from keeping a laptop too close. For example, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine links prolonged laptop radiation to decreased fertility.

Concerns over skin cancer have also been raised about laptop radiation. This means that no matter if you believe in the concerns issued surrounding a laptop, it’s best to avoid sleeping anywhere near such a piece of hardware.

Psychological Impact

The biggest danger of sleeping with a laptop next to you is temptation. Adolescents, in particular, are prone to checking their social media accounts on smartphones and tablets long into the night.

This does not mean that nocturnal screen time is only an issue for teenagers. Can you say with complete certainty that if you had a laptop within easy reach, you would be able to resist using it?

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, fire off a reply or two, job done.

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 either.

Before you know it, you could have spent well over an hour online, and you’re wide awake. You now need to begin the whole sleep hygiene process again. This is not going to lead to a quality night of rest.

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, though. That may not be enough to stop you from hunting down the computer and booting it up. You may need to take additional precautions.

One slightly extreme solution is to keep your computer in a time-controlled safe that will not allow access until morning. Alternatively, just 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. If you cannot access websites you consider fun or useful, you’ll be less inclined to keep your laptop close to the bed.

Of course, it’s easy to say, “just power your laptop down, and none of this will be a concern.” That’s easier said than done, though. To maximize your potential for a good night’s sleep, keep your computer out of the place where you sleep.