Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Weight Loss Goals? By Stuart Carter, Men’s Health Coach & Head Trainer, The Fit Father ProjectThere are approximately 224.3 million Smartphone users in the US alone! The modern digital age has transformed the phone into an amazing device that allows you to connect with anyone, at any time.
But did you know this useful device can be seriously damaging to your weight loss and muscle building goals?
Keep reading to discover what the problem is and how you can solve it.
It may be counter-intuitive to think phones are bad for your health. After all, there are thousands of available apps to help regulate your diet and exercise routines. You can even access our 1-day meal plan or 24-minute workout with a smart phone.
Why is Sleep So Important?
When you sleep your body has the opportunity to balance your hormones, repair cell damage, and recharge its batteries.
You’ll notice that everything always seems better after a good night’s sleep!
When you sleep your temperature and blood pressure drop. The supply of blood to your muscles actually increases and your energy levels are rebooted. This happens in 20-40 minute bursts throughout the night.
After 90 minutes your enters REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is when the real activity happens, and your body can begin to repair and re-energize. This stage only lasts between 10 and 60 minutes, but it repeats every 90 minutes.
The fact that it repeats emphasizes why it is so important to get between 6 and 8 hours sleep every night.
Another thing to consider, are the effects of sleep on ghrelin and leptin:
- Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full after eating. The body’s regulation of leptin is largely dependent on getting enough sleep.
- Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Sleep lowers ghrelin levels.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels will remain high and your leptin levels low. You will feel hungry and be more likely to overeat.
How Does My Smartphone Affect My Sleep?
We’ve established that sleep is important, but how do smartphones affect your sleep?
The answer is something called blue light, but you don’t need to be Stephen Hawking to understand the concept.
Blue light is the part of the visible light spectrum known to have a shorter wavelengths, which means it produces a high level of energy.
In fact it is what makes the sky appear blue.
Blue light is a natural substance. When your body detects blue light, you will feel more alert, in a better mood, and have faster reactions. It does this by restricting the supply of melatonin to your body.
Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. As blue light levels drop naturally with the sun, your melatonin levels increase. This helps your brain to shut down and prepare for sleep.
The problem is that all your electronic devices, Smartphone, laptop and even energy efficient fluorescent bulbs emit blue light.
When your body should be preparing for sleep, it’s actually wide awake believing it is daytime!
This is the reason why you lie in your bed waiting to get to sleep and why your sleep quality is poor.
Your body will take approximately 2 hours to be ready for sleep; dramatically reducing your sleep time and the opportunity for your body to regulate your hormone levels.
The fact that you’re using your Smartphone right up to and possibly even in bed means you’re not getting the quality sleep you need.
The Solution to Smartphones and Blue Light
The most obvious answer is that you need to eliminate blue light before bed. Of course, you might not be ready to give up on your Smartphone just yet; there are several ways to stop your Smartphone ruining your weight loss goals:
- Blue Glasses
There have been numerous studies which show that glasses with blue blocking lenses can help. One study had people with sleep difficulties wear the glasses for 3 hours before bed. The results showed that there was a 50% increase in the quality of all the participants sleep!
A more detailed study looked at melatonin levels. The study showed that participants wearing blue blocking glasses saw an increase of 6% in melatonin.
In contrast, those who wore regular sunglasses saw a drop of 46%! This is not a good thing!
To make the results of this survey even more impressive, the group with blue blocking glasses were actually exposed to light 25% brighter than the other participants!
There is no doubt that blue blocking glasses can help you get ready for sleep, even if you use your smartphone right up to the moment you go to bed.
Try it! You may feel silly wearing blue blocking glasses in your home, but you’ll fall asleep easier and have better quality sleep.
This will allow your body to help you with your weight loss goals as well as your general health.
- Turn the devices OFF
Another option is to simply turn off your blue light devices at least 2 hours before you go to bed. This means laptops and smartphone’s.
Turning off your devices will allow you to de-stress, which lowers cortisol levels. Less cortisol can help boost testosterone production. This is especially important for aging adults.
You might find it helpful to switch your smartphone into airplane mode at a specific time. This stops the messages and distracting notifications.
- Color Inversion
Inverting the colors makes the screen darker and reduces the amount of blue light being emitted. This can help if you need to use your devices and blue blocking glasses aren’t available.
- Use an App
There are several apps on the market, such as f.lux. These can automatically adjust the coloring of your screens as the sun sets.
Apps do not stop your device from emitting blue light, but they can reduce your exposure to it.
Reading Between The Lights
Your smartphone is your constant companion, but the blue light it emits can reduce the overall quality of your sleeping patterns. A lack of sleep is detrimental to your body’s ability to regulate hormones, making it difficult to achieve your fitness goals.
Now that you know the facts, you can do something about it. Add in blue light restrictions to your healthy 1-day meal plan and 24 minute workout, and you’ll be surprised at how much difference it will make.
Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide’, Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on conditioning workouts.