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I'm a Doctor and Warn You Never Press This Button on Your Phone

Five bad phone habits to stop now, MD says. 
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Getting a good night's sleep is vital to our overall well-being and our phones can prevent us from getting the quality rest we need in several ways like hitting the snooze button because it can throw off your circadian rhythm–or internal clock. "An irregular circadian rhythm can have a negative effect on a person's ability to sleep and function properly," according to Harvard Health. In addition, bad phone habits can greatly impact your health in a negative way and Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies tells us five things to avoid doing with your phone." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Our Phones Can Be Bad Habits

Cell phone

Dr. Mitchell shares, "As a physician and a wellness and performance coach, I attest that some habits are potentially detrimental, even though they might look innocent enough from the surface. Most people now own smartphones, and usage rates are constantly climbing. However, there is growing evidence that these ubiquitous devices may be harming our health. One problem is that we spend less time engaged in face-to-face interactions and staring at screens more. This can lead to social isolation and anxiety. Another issue is that the constant stream of information and notifications can make it difficult to concentrate or get a good night's sleep. In addition, the blue light emitted by phones can disrupt our natural circadian rhythms. While there is no need to panic, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with phone use. By utilizing some simple strategies, such as setting limits on screen time and using a blue light filter, we can minimize the impact of phones on our health."

2

​​The Snooze Button

Man's hand close-up trying to reach out ringing cell phone or alarm to have some snooze early in the morning.
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Dr. Mitchell states, "When the alarm clock goes off in the morning, it can be tempting to hit the snooze button and curl up under the covers for a few more minutes of sleep. However, research suggests that pressing the snooze button can make your day less productive. For example, one study found that people who hit the snooze button were more likely to feel tired and sluggish throughout the day. I believe if you start your day with procrastination and a less than enthusiastic start, you are more likely to perceive to have had a less than productive start.  

The snooze button might give you a few more minutes of sleep, but it can also make you less productive during the day. For example, if you want to start your day off on the right foot, resist the urge to hit the snooze button and get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off.  People who hit the snooze button out of habit or perhaps do not feel well rested might have trouble concentrating and are less likely to complete their tasks. In contrast, people who got out of bed as soon as the alarm went off felt more alert and had more energy. So if you want to start your day on a productive note, it's best to avoid hitting the snooze button."

3

Don't' Check Social Media First Thing in the Morning

Sleeping Couple Being Woken By Mobile Phone In Bedroom
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"Checking Instagram or Facebook can start your day on a negative note by making you compare your life to others," says Dr. Mitchell. "Instead, use that time to do something for yourself, like reading or meditating. That being said, I still believe social media can positively impact your day if you are mindful of the amount of time you spend online and cognizant of the social media pages you follow. If I notice that pages are showing on my feed that do not align with my values and the person I aim to be, I will unfollow and, in some cases, block certain types of content. Life and my time are too precious to let negativity steal my joy."

4

Don't Use Your Phone While You're Driving

Young woman looking to her smartphone while driving car
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Dr. Mitchell reminds us, "When you get behind the wheel of a car, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and others on the road. One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of being in an accident is to avoid distractions while driving. This includes eating, drinking, talking to passengers, and using your phone and using your phone while driving is hazardous because it takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and your mind off of driving. Even a glance at a text message can be enough to cause an accident. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, phone use while driving contributes to 1.6 million crashes each year. If you can't resist the urge to use your phone while driving, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk. For example, you can put your phone out of reach, so you're not tempted to look at it, or you can enable a feature that automatically responds to texts so you don't need to check your phone. Ultimately, though, the best way to avoid using your phone while driving is to make a conscious effort to keep it out of sight and out of mind."

5

Don't Use Your Phone During Face-to-Face Conversations

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Dr. Mitchell says, "In our increasingly digital world, it's become increasingly common to see people using their phones during face-to-face conversations. Whether they're checking email, browsing social media, or playing games, there's always something more exciting happening on those little screens than what's happening in the real world. However, using your phone during a conversation is rude and demonstrates a lack of interest in the other person. When you're looking at your phone, you're sending the message that you would rather be elsewhere. So instead of engaging with the person in front of you, you're choosing to disconnect. So next time you're talking to someone, put away your phone and give them your full attention. It'll make the conversation more enjoyable for both of you."

6

Don't Sleep with Your Phone Next to Your Bed

Man sleeping phone bedside
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Dr. Mitchell shares, "We've all been there – you're trying to fall asleep, but you can't seem to get comfortable. So, you search for your phone, scroll through social media, or check your email. But did you know that sleeping with your phone beside your bed can adversely affect your health? For one thing, the blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Additionally, constant exposure to electromagnetic fields has been linked to various health problems, including headaches, fatigue, and even cancer. So next time you're struggling to drift off to sleep, leave your phone in another room and try some relaxation techniques instead. Your mind – and body – will thank you for it."

 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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