To the Editor:
I have read with interest the Health & Fitness from A to Z column by Adams et al. (1) entitled “Technology as a Tool to Encourage Young Adults to Sleep and Eat Healthy” that was published in the July/August issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®. Adams et al. in their article have addressed the issue of using technology to improve sleep and nutrition. The authors mention that 75% of teens have smartphones and report that the willingness of young adults to use their mobile phones makes using smartphones applications an efficient method for promotion of health in areas such as sleep and nutrition. Over the past several years, my colleagues and I have expanded our focus on studying the adverse health effects of exposure to different levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) such as mobile phones, mobile base stations, mobile phone jammers, laptop computers, and radars. Adams et al. have ignored substantial data that now indicates that exposure to both smartphone’s short wavelength visible light in the blue region (4) as well as Internet and mobile phone activities related to social networking (2) can disturb the normal sleep pattern. It has been reported that reduction of melatonin secretion due to the blue light exposure from smartphone screens is involved in the negative impact of smartphones on sleep (5).
It should be noted that both blue light emitted from the screens of smartphones and RF-EMF may affect the circadian rhythm in people who use these high-tech devices at night (3). To not lose the market, some manufactures of smartphones have recently developed color-shifting screen applications that they claim prevent the blue light-induced insomnia. However, the problems associated with the effect of RF-EMF on sleep still remain unsolved.
Seyed Mohammad Javad Mortazavi, Ph.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
1. Adams SK, Liguori G, Lofgren IE. Technology as a tool to encourage young adults to sleep and eat healthy. ACSMs Health Fit J
2. Bruni O, Sette S, Fontanesi L, Baiocco R, Laghi F, Baumgartner E. Technology use and sleep quality in preadolescence and adolescence. J Clin Sleep Med
3. Mortazavi SM, Mortazavi SA, Habibzadeh P, Mortazavi G. Is it blue light or increased electromagnetic fields which affects the circadian rhythm in people who use smartphones at night. Iran J Public Health
4. Oh JH, Yoo H, Park HK, Do YR. Analysis of circadian properties and healthy levels of blue light from smartphones at night. Sci Rep
5. Yoshimura M, Kitazawa M, Maeda Y, Mimura M, Tsubota K, Kishimoto T. Smartphone viewing distance and sleep: an experimental study utilizing motion capture technology. Nat Sci Sleep