Late Night Smartphone Use May Decrease Productivity


Small computers such as smartphones allow us to sit in a comfy chair or propped up in bed, and work late into the night. However, it tuns out this behavior is not so smart.

It seems that after working long hours on our smartphones we get less done the following day. A research study through Michigan State University revealed that those who used smartphones to conduct business after nine o’clock in the evening were less focused at work 12 hours later.

Smartphone User Habits

“Smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep. Because they keep us mentally engaged late into the evening, they make it hard to detach from work so we can relax and fall asleep,” said researcher, Russell Johnson.

Johnson and his colleagues came to this conclusion using two studies. One study gave multiple surveys to 82 upper level managers. The managers completed the surveys daily for two weeks. The second project gave daily surveys to 161 employees in a variety of occupations (e.g., accounting, manufacturing, dentistry, nursing).

The studies revealed:

  1. Using smartphones at night for work purposes impaired sleep and depleted a manager’s or employee’s energy the next workday.
  2. Smartphone usage had a bigger disruptive effect on sleep and energy than late night television watching or laptop and tablet use.

Not only do smartphones keep people engaged in work late at night, the “blue light” that the phones emit is known to hamper our body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that allows us to fall asleep.

Becoming Smart Phone-Users

Over 50 percent of adults in the U.S. have a smartphone and rely on its effectiveness as a productivity tool. It is also true, according to the National Sleep Foundation that less than half of U.S. adults—only 40 percent—get adequate sleep each night.

Although the Michigan researchers do not imagine that people will start turning their phones off after 9:00 p.m. they do point out that our physical and mental health require us to get a certain amount of shut eye.

There may be times in which putting off work until the next day would have disastrous consequences and using your smartphone is well worth the negative effects on less important tasks the next day. But on many other nights, more sleep may be your best bet. ~ R. Johnson

Source: Science Daily


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