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Quit pre-bedtime phone addiction like giving up smoking

(People's Daily Online)

10:22, September 15, 2012

Quit pre-bedtime phone addiction like giving up smoking

Translated by People's Daily Online

Most people are familiar with the scene of lying in bed playing with one's mobile phone. With the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones, updating micro-blogs and reading news before falling asleep and grabbing the phone immediately after opening their eyes on the next day has become a popular trend. British scientists consider such strong psychological dependence to be mobile phone addiction.

A two-hour exposure to light from mobile phones, tablet PCs, and other self-luminous electronic gadgets before bed can suppress melatonin, the chemical substance that controls people's body clock, by about 22 percent, the U.K.-based Daily Mail recently cited Mariana Figueiro, director of the Lighting Research Center's Light and Health Program, as saying in a report.

It has more adverse effects than what is mentioned above. Over time, heavy users may form psychological dependence on their mobile phones, which is just like addiction to the Internet or cigarettes. Even one night without playing with their phones may cause them to be anxious and upset, and they always worry about missing calls or text messages. Phone addiction can damage the health of people's eyes, cervical vertebras, and lumbar spines.

"This is due to emotional insecurity. They rely on mobile social networks and various information from their phones to gain recognition", said Peng Xu, a psychotherapist at Beijing Huilongguan Hospital. He said that people should make efforts to quit playing with their phones before bed just like giving up smoking, if they experience anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms when not playing.

Peng suggested that people should finish playing with the phone two hours prior to bedtime, and tell themselves that they can only choose one of the three things including mobile phone, computer, and television to play with each day. They can space out for a few seconds after that, and then go to bed to have a good sleep.

Strong self-restraint is crucial to quitting any form of addiction, including mobile phone addiction. If people cannot control themselves, they should place their phones far away. After doing so for some time, they may find that nothing is lost without playing with the phone or updating micro-blogs prior to bedtime.

Read the Chinese version: 像戒烟一样睡前戒手机

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