You might think that constantly checking e-mail on your cell phone at night will help you get aheadÃ¢â‚¬”but it could actually have the opposite effect: Using a smartphone for work purposes after 9 p.m. can do a number on your sleep quality and your job performance, according to a new study scheduled to be published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
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For the study, researchers from Michigan State University asked 243 people to complete two surveys a dayÃ¢â‚¬”one at 6 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m.Ã¢â‚¬”for 10 consecutive days. Participants responded to questions about how they used their phones before going to bed and how they felt the following day.
The results? When people checked their smartphones for work purposes after 9 p.m., they reported clocking fewer hours of sleep. This was more common when people used cell phones than when they watched TV or typed on a laptop before bed. Nighttime smartphone workers also had trouble focusing on the job the following afternoon.
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Ã¢â‚¬Å“Many people believe that thinking about work before bed will help prepare them for the next day,Ã¢â‚¬Â says lead study author Russell Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of management at Michigan State University, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but it actually puts them in a worse state of mind.Ã¢â‚¬Â Replying to work e-mails can stress you out, and the light on your phoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s screen can hinder the production of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. Why isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t browsing Facebook or watching Netflix as bad? It may be because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re more relaxing activities, says Johnson.
That totally makes senseÃ¢â‚¬”you need to disconnect from your job and recharge by doing fun and non-stressful activities, whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reading a book or watching an episode of Modern Family. CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to stop refreshing your inbox? Johnson suggests plugging your phone in far away from your bed (or wherever you relax at night) so that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re less tempted to mindlessly check it.
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