Is your smartphone hurting your sleep? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Is your smartphone hurting your sleep?

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Like many of us, Jenna Wycoff can't go long without staring at her smartphone. She checks her apps at least once every couple of minutes.

"I think if I were to take an intentional cellphone fast, I don't think it would last very long... because I think it's now a habit!" she said.

A new study suggests that habit could affect your quality of sleep. Researchers studied more than 650 adults, tracking how much time they spent on their smartphones and their sleeping habits over a month. They found extended screen time was linked to poor sleep quality and less sleep, especially for those who used smartphones right before going to bed. Sleep doctors say that may be for several reasons.

"Maybe if you don't sleep well you look at your phone more often. But the other alternative is looking at your phone exposes you to blue light. Blue light is alerting and can inhibit your sleep and fragment your sleep throughout the rest of the night," said Dr. Kingman Strohl of University Hospitals Cleveland Medicine.

Doctors say getting enough quality sleep is critical for your physical and mental health. Poor sleep is linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes and depression.

"Poor sleep and inadequate sleep gives you sleepiness the next day, it decreases your quality of life, reduces your ability to control impulses," Strohl said.

Wycoff says her smartphone habits have certainly thrown off her regular bedtime.

"I go to bed later because I'm staring at stuff on my phone," she said.

Doctors say trading the smartphone for a book to unwind before bed could help ensure a better night's rest.

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