FromQuarkstoQuasars

Could Airplane Mode Improve Our Quality of Sleep?

Colin RobsonMarch 31st 2014
Picture: Nicole Cleary Source: Herald Sun
Picture: Nicole Cleary Source: Herald Sun

A call out for participants for a three night trial to see whether Airplane Mode does improve your quality of sleep.

Mobile phones, most of us own one and if you’re like me, it’s probably never more than an arms length away. My iPhone wakes me up for work in the mornings. Moments after turning it off I have access to all of my email accounts, can do a quick check on Facebook to see if the world is coming to an end; let’s face it, if anything happened, there’d be thousands of pictures of it on there. I can check my work calendar to see what I’m doing that day so I can organize myself for both at and after work. This is before I’ve even gotten out of bed! Clearly, the mobile phone has become a big part of my life!

The mobile phone is in a way, one of the first steps towards technological evolution, the augmentation of technology with biology. Granted, we’re not yet quite that far along with the mobile… Yet… More and more people have mobile phones at a younger and younger age these days, it is a trend that has been going on for the last decade. Although there are good and bad aspects to this (as with near all technology), could this be affecting our sleep?

Studies currently suggest that if you use a computer, tablet or mobile phone just before going to bed, you increase your chances of having a less restful night sleep. What if, like me, you use your phone as an alarm, could putting it on Airplane Mode help?

Setting on iPad for Airplane Mode
Setting on iPad for Airplane Mode

I was listening to the radio while driving to work last week, the Ross and John Breakfast Show on 3AW, and this interesting topic came up. For a brief outline of the conversation go here. I found it really interesting that a few people at the radio station had tried this and found that they were getting a better, more rested nights sleep. Personally, I think this is for psychological reasons. While the phone is on Airplane Mode, we know that there is no way for the outside world to contact us in any way shape or form. A part of our subconscious while we’re sleeping could be paying attention to our phones. Waiting for that 3am phone call or text. Even if it’s on vibrate, listening for the sound.

I’ve been trialling this over the last few days, putting the phone into Airplane Mode as I turn off the bedroom light, I have found myself waking up feeling better rested. What I would like to do is conduct a simple study, three days of Airplane Mode to see if it helps any of you readers too. Towards the end of the week I’ll follow this up with a poll and you can say whether it helped you or not.

The lack of quality sleep (over prolonged periods) has been attributed many illnesses and cognitive impairment. Could sleeping under Airplane Mode be the new fad? I’ll let every one of you willing to conduct this test with me decide.

Personally, I think ~80% will find that it helps them sleep better, how many do you think? You know why I think it’ll help, what’s your opinion on the matter?

So, for the next three days, if you would like to be a part of the simple study, just turn on Airplane Mode when you go to bed. I know I will be.

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