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Work-related nighttime use of smartphones may affect sleep: study

January 29, 2014

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East Lansing, MI – Conducting work at home on a smartphone at night may make it hard for employees to sleep, leaving them with less energy the next day, according to two new studies from Michigan State University.

As part of the first study, researchers surveyed 82 upper-level managers daily for two weeks. The second study involved surveys of 161 workers from a variety of occupations – including nursing, dentistry and manufacturing – and compared the effect of using smartphones with other electronic devices.

Both studies reached the same conclusion: Using smartphones for work after 9 p.m. left employees tired and less energized the next day.

Additionally, the second study found smartphone use was more detrimental to sleep than watching television or using a laptop or tablet, which may be because smartphones emit a “blue light” that inhibits melatonin, a chemical in the body that encourages sleep, according to an MSU press release.

Researchers acknowledged that employees may have to address work issues after hours, but suggested aiming for more sleep and less phone distraction after hours.

The study is scheduled to appear in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.