The Silent Pollutant in Your Bedroom & What to do About It

The other day I sat down to do some work on the computer. It was about 7 a.m. and I remember thinking to myself, “This is awesome! I am going to get all of this done early and have the entire day ahead of me!” With excitement, I plunged into my online to-dos. What felt like an hour later, I decided to go grab some breakfast only to realize it was already noon (sigh).

Sound familiar?

Is sitting really the new smoking?

Over recent years, there has been a lot of press about how “sitting is the new smoking”. I get it. I find myself sitting more than I would like as time passes quickly throughout the day. However, have you ever stopped to ask yourself “why am I sitting so much?

Technology makes it really easy to stay put. Whether it’s the 3-second window before the next Netflix show starts, the endless rabbit holes to slide down on YouTube or Social Media, or even staring at a computer screen all day long for work or school, one thing is true –  while tech is a necessity in modern life, it is also addicting- just like cigarettes.

Now, I’m not a smoker myself, however I have been around both friends and family members that have struggled with quitting. It’s no joke, and really challenging for people that want to kick the habit. Despite decades of scientific literature that directly links cigarette smoking to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other significant illnesses, cigarettes are still sold and people still light up.

But, let me ask you a question. Do you smoke in bed at night?

My guess is that the majority of you answered no. However, what if I were to tell you that having your cell phone next to you at night may be as harmful as smoking?

If you’ve not considered this before, it can seem strange. You can’t hear, see, or smell what the cell phone is emitting, so nothing is happening, right? Actually, something is happening, and in the words of Lionel Richie, it’s happening all night long, all night…

Now, imagine you are working in an environment filled with smoke every day. After a long, exhausting day, you stumble in the front door to a home and bedroom filled with smoke. Your body doesn’t have a chance to heal and regenerate during sleep given the non-stop exposure to the smoke. This is basically our reality, however instead of smoke, it’s the radiation from cell phones, WIFI, Bluetooth, and Smart Meters. The Marlborough Man has been swapped for the guy on the Verizon commercial. Can you hear me now?

Bottom line, it’s time to reconsider the health impacts from wireless technology, especially in the bedroom.

The Science

According to the 2012 Bioinitiative Report, a compendium of global scientific studies, public health, public policy and global responses to the health concerns of chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation, between 2007 and 2012 alone “1,800 new studies have been published…reporting effects at exposure levels ten to hundreds or thousands of times lower than allowed under safety limits in most countries of the world”.

The studies cited in this report outline the following diseases and health conditions that result from exposure to cell towers, WIFI, laptops, and the smart meters on almost every home.

  • Stress Proteins
  • Disrupted Immune Function
  • Infertility/Reproductive Issues (Male and Female)
  • Oxidative Damage
  • DNA Damage/DNA Repair Failure
  • Disrupted Calcium Metabolism
  • Brain Tumors
  • Disruption of the Blood Brain Barrier
  • Sleep Issues
  • Impact on Neuron Firing rate
  • Impact on EEG
  • Memory Function
  • Impact on Learning
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Cancer
  • Cell proliferation
  • Cardiac health
  • Impact on the heart muscle
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Vascular effects.

This report was last updated in 2014, and we can only assume that in the last 6 years, the data has continued to grow.

My Awakening

I, too, slept with my cell phone right next to my bed for years. It was my alarm clock, my flashlight, and my “insomnia entertainment device”. Little did I know about the amount of non-stop radiation it was sending into the room – and into me! More importantly, I did not fully realize how this radiation was impacting my body’s ability to sleep deeper and heal better during the nighttime hours.

The Building Biology Institute recommends bedroom exposure levels to high-frequency radiation (cell phones, WIFI, Bluetooth, smart meters, etc.) to be in the slight-to-no concern ranges of less than 10 uW/m2. Check out this video that shows the amount of radiation emitted by my iPhone X.

A Max of 448,000 uW/m2. That’s 44,800 times higher than Building Biology slight-to-no concern levels for Sleeping Rooms.

A Max of 448,000 uW/m2. That’s 44,800 times higher than Building Biology slight-to-no concern levels for Sleeping Rooms. Also, I don’t use WIFI in my home. If WIFI were on, these exposure levels would likely be higher. To put this into even greater perspective, one study from the Bioinitiative Report showed changes in genes and problems with DNA resulting from exposure of 10-13(femtowatts)/cm2. My brain hurts just thinking about trying to do the math on this one, so bottom line, this is a dramatically low level of exposure, especially in comparison to the measurement from my phone.

So why aren’t we all getting sick? Well, many people are and may not realize that the constant source of radiation in the environment could be a contributing factor. Also, we heal when we sleep, so by creating a reduced-radiation sleeping environment, we give our bodies a break to do what they need to do. 

Even cigarettes used to be promoted as harmless and “en vogue”. A fantastic example is this television ad from 1949. Wow! We may look back on some of our tech advertisements the same way 50 years from now.

Go Old School

As it turns out, I don’t need my cell phone in my bedroom at all, even for emergencies.

Don’t worry, as much as I’d love everyone to chill out on tech adoption, I’m not asking you to give up your cell phone completely. With a few simple tweaks, you can dramatically reduce your nighttime exposure to the radiation created by technology in your home. My advice? Go old school.

I recommend installing a landline telephone and forwarding your calls at night. You may already have a landline in your home. *72 will forward your calls to your home number and your callers won’t even know the difference.  If you don’t already pay for a home phone number, this will add to your monthly budget. However, if you want to reduce exposure to radiation and are concerned about being reached overnight with an emergency, this is an excellent solution.

Most homes have telephone wiring installed. And now, internet providers offer phone service through a modem via the internet, so adding an unlisted number is a simple, low cost add-on. Make sure to choose a wired phone because (believe it or not) cordless phones also emit high levels of radiation.

If you really want to complete the old-school package, you can also purchase a small, battery powered alarm clock and keep a flashlight by the bed. Here are the products I use in my home (phone, clock).

Should you still choose to use a cell phone in the bedroom, make sure to put it in complete airplane mode at night, and double check to make sure that the cellular, WIFI, and Bluetooth functions are all completely off. As seen in the video above, each of these functions emit radiation separately, so when all 3 are on, exposure levels increase. As a side note, it’s a great practice to keep WIFI and Bluetooth turned off on your phone unless you are actually using them to reduce some of the radiation. Same goes for tablets and laptops, too.

Still uncomfortable with airplane mode because of not having a landline? At a minimum, turn off WIFI and Bluetooth, turn up the ringer volume, and place the phone as far away from your body possible to where you can still hear it, if needed.

Go the Extra Mile

If you want to go the extra mile, turn off your WIFI router at night, as discussed in my blog 6 Steps for a Healthy Bedroom. If your router doesn’t have a dedicated WIFI on/off switch, plugging it into a timer to shut off at bedtime and restart in the morning is an easy, low-cost solution. By the way, if you have a router in your bedroom, relocate it if possible. If it cannot be moved, definitely shut it off at night.

For the ultimate fix, eliminate all technology from the bedroom. WIFI is like sugar, they put that $#!+ in everything! And even though we may think WIFI is off, many smart devices still emit a signal. This includes things like televisions, Apple TVs, Sonos, and wearables.

The technology we use daily is increasing at an unprecedented rate therefore impacting radiation levels in the home and bedroom. I can help you create a sleep sanctuary that will reduce your exposure levels during sleeping hours so that you achieve the deep, healing, restorative sleep your body needs and craves. Contact me HERE for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Also, be sure to let me know how you integrate these steps into your home and bedroom by commenting below, and share this with everyone you love.

Until next time,