I’ve talked in many of the articles on EMF Academy about how EMF radiation affects our quality of sleep. However I thought it was time to write a full post about it so that we can really dive a bit deeper about what is going on, and why making your bedroom a sanctuary from EMF’s is so incredibly important.
We’ll dive into the science and research surrounding how EMFs biologically affect our sleep and our health, and then we’ll talk about some simple solutions who can implement in your own life.
I won’t go into what EMF radiation is or the non-sleep related health risks in this article, but I’ll point you to the knowledge section of this site to learn more.
Let’s start by talking specifically how EMF radiation affects our sleep.
The Science Behind EMF Radiation and Our Sleep
There are a multitude of ways that EMF radiation affects our health, but a few specific ways that it affects our sleep:
EMF Radiation and Melatonin Production
First of all, EMF radiation effects sleep because it has been known to reduce the amount of melatonin that we produce. The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne conducted a study on exactly this.
They found that EMF’s impede the bodies production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep and wakefulness. The primary reason for this being that the pineal gland (the organ that produces melatonin and other hormones) interprets the electrical nature of the EMF radiation as a source of light. Thinking that it is still light outside, or in the room, it limits our melatonin production in an effort to combat this.
The studies abstract ended with:
“…the results show the significance of disruption of melatonin due to exposure to weak EMFs, which may possibly lead to long-term health effects in humans.”
So, we know that EMF radiation can affect the amount of sleep we get, and the quality. Knowing this, it’s simple to understand the bleed over affect into our health.
Sleep is so extremely important for our bodies to be able to repair and renew. While asleep the cells regenerate and detoxify, and without proper sleep, they are not able to finish that job. When our cells aren’t healthy, it also affects our organs and their ability to do their jobs.
Unhealthy cells can also sometimes lead to mutations and neural disorders. There is a reason that when companies that produce EMF protection products advertise their products, they often show cells before and after the use of their products.
EMF Radiation and Cell Quality
Not only do our cells get messed with when we don’t get sleep, but the EMF radiation can also have a direct effect on our cells. In a study by the Weston A Price Foundation, they showed clearly that cell phone radiation affects our bodies ability to produce healthy cells.
On top of all that, studies have also shown that EMF exposure can disrupt our circadian rhythm (our bodies internal clock) to the dramatically reducing the quality of our sleep.
EMF Radiation Disrupting Circadian Rhythm
A 2012 study published in the Iranian Journal of Science and Engineering found that employees of high voltage substations got dramatically worse sleep due to their frequent exposure to EMF radiation during work hours. The study specifically looked at the quality of sleep, not just the quantity.
So, it is entirely reasonable to assume that when we sleep through the night but wake up feeling drowsy, or like we did not get good rest, that EMF radiation could be the culprit, and should certainly be looked at.
For this specific reason, I wrote up an entire post about EMF radiation in the bedroom, that included tons of great tips on ways to reduce it to improve sleep quality.
World Health Organization and EMF Sleep Disturbance
In 2007, the World Health Organization published Environmental Health Criteria Monograph 238. This document was aimed at summarizing research on EMF radiation and
“Sleep is a complex biological process controlled by the central nervous system and is necessary for general health and well-being. The possibility that EMFs may exert a detrimental effect on sleep has been examined in two studies. Using the EEG to assess sleep parameters, Åkerstedt et al. (1999) reported that continuous exposure of healthy volunteers to 50 Hz at 1 µT at night caused disturbances in sleep. In this study, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, slow-wave sleep (stage III and IV), and slow-wave activity were significantly reduced by exposure, as was
subjectivedepth of sleep. Graham & Cook (1999) reported that intermittent, but not continuous, exposure to 60 Hz, 28 µT magnetic fields at night resulted in less total sleep time, reduced sleep efficiency, increased time in stage II sleep, decreased time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and increased latency to firstREM period. Consistent with a pattern of poor and broken sleep, volunteers exposed to the intermittent field also reported sleeping less well and feeling less rested in the morning.”
Alright, now that we’ve gone into such detail about how EMF radiation affects our sleep, let’s spend some talking about some of the ways we can combat this.
Obviously, our primary goal will be to reduce EMF radiation in the bedroom.
How To Reduce EMF Radiation In The Bedroom, and Improve Sleep
I’m going to try and keep these tips rather brief, since I’ve already covered most of them in my other post. However, I think it’s important whenever I talk about how EMF radiation negatively affects our life, to provide solutions to the best of my ability.
1. Deal With Your Cellphone
It should come as absolutely no surprise to you at this point in your search that cell phone radiation is not only harmful, it’s actually one of our largest sources of EMF radiation in our lives. Not only is the radiation for your cell-phone dangerous to your health, and known to be carcinogenic, as we discovered above it can also directly affect your sleep.
In the United States (and it is likely similar in other developed countries) more than 50% of people sleep with their cell phone next to their bed or under their pillow.
Now this honestly doesn’t surprise me at all considering how reliant we have all become on these devices. We typically scroll through them before bed, and then just use them as our alarm clock.
So, let me present to you a few good options, depending on your strength of will!
After you are finished using your phone, put it in Airplane mode (this will dramatically cut down on the radiation) and set it on the other side of the room. This will still allow you to use the device as an alarm clock (and bonus, you’ll have to actually get out of bed to snooze it). More importantly, you won’t be sleeping right next to a high source of EMF radiation as you’re trying to sleep.
Little bit better option:
Leave your cell phone on that same dresser, but just turn it off and get a simple mechanical alarm clock, that is powered by batteries, not plugged in. I have this one from Amazon (Warning: Extremely Loud!)
The previous two options are honestly great, and will cut down on your cell-phone radiation exposure an incredible amount. However, from my own experience, I know that if you tell yourself you’re going to put it in airplane mode or turn it off before bed, you’re likely to forget.
That is why the best option honestly if you can bear it, is to just get in the habit of having your bedroom be a cell-phone free zone. Get a mechanical alarm clock, choose a good book (like this one!) and enjoy the peace that your bedroom deserves!
2. Turn Off WiFi At Night
If you haven’t read it already, I’d encourage you to read my popular post (for a reason) Why You Should Turn Off WiFi At Night [And 3 Ways To Do It]. In that article I go into detail about how WiFi affects not only our health, but our ability to get good sleep!
Your WiFi router floods your home with RF radiation. I do understand that these days it’s almost impossible to have a home without WiFi. However, is there any reason for it to be on all night long while everyone is sleeping. In the article I linked above I offer some really simple and inexpensive ways to have your router automatically turn off at night, and back on in the morning.
This is a simple and hands off way to reduce EMF radiation in your home while you’re sleeping.
3. Cut Down on Dirty Electricity
I’m not going to dive into this too deep, because I’ve already written so many posts on what dirty electricity is, and how to reduce it. However, it’s important to mention in this article that the proliferation of dirty electricity is only getting worse as new technologies come out.
Most people aren’t even aware of the amount of EMF radiation their homes and bedrooms are exposed to because of dirty electricity. This is absolutely a large source of radiation, and is very likely a reason that people aren’t getting a great nights sleep.
4. Swap Out Your Lighting
I recently wrote a great article on the safest light bulbs that if you have a minute you should really read. However, for the purpose of this article it’s important to know that some lightbulbs are just worse than others, especially in our bedroom.
Not only because they emit EMF radiation and just dangerous in general, but because some of them emit more blue light than others. You probably know that blue light right before bed has consistently been shown to reduce melatonin production and affect the quality of our sleep.
The cliff notes are though, that whenever possible you should trade out LED and CFL lightbulbs for the older style incandescent bulbs. Not only do these emit basically no radiation, and very little blue light, but they also won’t add to the amount of dirty electricity in your home.
5. Watch Out For Cell Towers
This is something that is often talked about but not often actually evaluated. Cell towers do actually emit a very large amount of EMF radiation, and it can extend for a very long range. For this reason, I wrote a whole article about how you can easily see a map of the cell towers around your home. In that article I also talk a bit about the specific dangers of cell towers, so I won’t go into detail about that here.
One of the best ways you can evaluate the radiation from cell towers though is to get a quality EMF meter (I use this one). Not only is this important for checking cell tower radiation, but it is also one of the most important tools for evaluating and correcting radiation exposures in your home in general.
Now, as far as reducing EMF radiation in your bedroom so that you can get a good night sleep, there is only so much you can do to combat
This can seem like an extreme option, but I have a suspicion that you’ll be surprised by how well you’ll sleep. If you want to learn more about these bed canopies, you can check out this article.
6. Throw Out Your Metal Spring Mattress
This might sound a bit silly in an article about EMF radiation and your sleep, but it’s actually a fairly important step in my opinion. If our goal is to build a bedroom that allows for good sleep and for our bodies to repair, this is actually an important step.
Essentially, a metal spring mattress can act as a bit of an antennae and magnifier for EMF radiation. Scientific America once wrote:
In the U.S. bed frames and box springs are made of metal, and the length of a bed is exactly half the wavelength of FM and TV transmissions that have been broadcasting since the late 1940s. Radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies. When sleeping on the right side, the body’s left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.”
You can solve this really simply by getting a memory foam mattress (I know a few couples that really love this one you can get on Amazon) or any other mattress that doesn’t have any metal inside.
The best solution for this, and hopefully you already have, is to simply get a memory foam mattress, or any other that doesn’t contain metal coils or framing. I have a mattress from Casper, but there are a ton of great brands out there, just search around google for whats right for you. Let’s be honest, it’s about time you replaced that mattress anyway, am I right?
Final Thoughts on EMF Radiation and Sleep
So, as you’ve hopefully learned from this fairly long article, EMF radiation does in fact affect our sleep. However, beyond the fact that it affects the quality and quantity of our sleep, it also affects our general health. When we are sleeping, our bodies are fairly vulnerable as they are doing all of their repair work.
This is the one time a day that we most want to ensure our bodies are protected and health. I’d really encourage you to try and follow some of the suggestions I outlined above.
If you have any questions, or If I can help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yours in health,