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For the record

"Why you should NEVER keep your mobile in your bedroom" Image

"Why you should NEVER keep your mobile in your bedroom"

On 11th March an article appeared on the Mail Online, the headline said you should “never keep your mobile in your bedroom”. The piece mentions several studies and claims electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones may affect electrical activity in the brain during sleep. We asked a scientist to put these in the context of the overall evidence.

Dr Mireille B. Toledano, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College London

“Evidence to date that the actual electromagnetic fields from mobile phones can affect sleep is weak. However, many people do report that their sleep is affected by use of mobile phones. This association is likely to be a behavioural one and not related to the electromagnetic fields themselves. For example, market research suggests that 68% of Britons use their mobile phones to wake themselves up in the morning, positioning their phone next to their bedside. It is the last thing they use at night and the first thing they use in the morning. Moreover, 24% of users report accessing their device between 3am and 5am if they awake in the middle of the night. 

Given current scientific uncertainties surrounding possible health effects from long term and heavy use of mobile phones and frequent reports of sleep disorders or disruption, it is important for scientists to monitor the health of mobile phone users. 

The COSMOS study is currently following the health of 290,000 adult mobile phone users across 5 countries in Europe. The UK arm of COSMOS is the largest component of the international cohort, with 105,000 participants, and is being led by Imperial College London. Surveillance in COSMOS includes a wide range of health outcomes including sleep disorders, headaches, tinnitus and many chronic diseases such as cancer, cerebrovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease.” 

Document type: For The Record

Published: 12 March 2014

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