Do you have a hard time falling asleep? What about staying asleep? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, approximately 30 percent of American adults struggle with insomnia. Studies show that exposure to artificial electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may play a role in disrupting our sleep by suppressing the body’s production of melatonin, the key regulator of sleep.
EMF (electromagnetic field) should be considered a harmful invader to your body, just like any other environmental toxin. It interferes with your health at the cellular level because you are actually an electrical being. Your body is a complex communication device where cells, tissues, organs and organisms all “talk” with finely tuned bio-electrical transmitters and receivers. 1
SEVERAL TYPES OF EMF:
- Static Electric Fields: These are made up of static electricity caused by ions released from synthetic materials in your home. When combined, they can make you feel unwell, which underscores the importance of choosing natural materials for your furniture, cabinetry, flooring and other building supplies.
- Power Frequency: This includes the wiring in your walls, electrical outlets, extension cords, lamps, and other electricity sources. They produce electric fields that essentially turn your body into a large antenna and interfere with your cells’ ability to communicate with one another. A bedroom disrupted with power frequency is especially unhealthy to sleep in, as cells cannot regenerate properly, potentially leading to insomnia and other diseases.
- Power Frequency Magnetic Fields: These are caused by building wiring errors and also when power lines to your home run underground near your sleeping area. An electrical panel box located on a wall near your sleeping area or even a refrigerator or TV located on the other side of the wall from where you sleep can also lead to power frequency magnetic fields.
- Radiofrequency/Communications: This includes a broad range of cordless phones, WiFi, wireless devices, cell phones and cell phone towers, all of which can interfere with your health.
It’s during sleep that your body regenerates and detoxifies, so you want your bedroom to be a sleeping sanctuary with very low EMF risks. It’s a given that you’re going to be exposed to varying levels of EMF during your waking hours, so giving your body a break during the night is really important.
The good news is there are all sorts of ways to reduce our exposure in our sleep areas. (Better: When I understood the potential of our devices to disrupt our sleep I was motivated to make these changes.)
- We turned the router off.
This simple step can go a long way toward reducing your nighttime exposure. Ideally, it’s optimal to transition to wired computers and eliminate Wi-Fi altogether, but turning off the router is an excellent first step. If you have a hard time remembering, put the router on a timer that will turn it off at the same time each night. If you must be near an active router either at night or during the day, consider a router guard.
- We removed the cordless phone and replaced it with a corded landline.
Cordless DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) phones emit high levels of microwave radiation. Most of the hazardous EMFs come from the base station, which is powered 24 hours a day. The antennas radiate these fields for hundreds of feet and are much like having a mini cell phone tower in your room. If a corded phone is not an option, move the base station to another area of the home, keeping the charged handset in the room with you at least six feet from your body. This simple change has made the biggest difference for me as I was the one sleeping next to it.Similarly, cell phones are best kept away from your sleeping area. Invest in a battery-operated clock if an alarm is needed.
- We moved as many electrical devices as possible away our sleeping area.
I keep one small lamp next to my bed. I have removed everything else. If possible, remove radios, TVs, answering machines, VCRs, lamps, computers, etc. If you must have any of these, keep them at least six feet from your body and unplug them before sleep. The International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology (IIBBE) recommends removing televisions entirely as they still emit fields when unplugged.
- We eliminated electronic media two hours before bedtime.
In the study Using Electronic Media Before Sleep Can Curtail Sleep Time and Result in Self-Perceived Insufficient Sleep, those who used very little media before bedtime reported better sleep than those who indicated heavy media use. If you do read on a device before bedtime, consider using blue-light filtering glasses. Most devices emit blue light that suppresses melatonin. These are affordable and readily available online. I use my orange glasses every night!
- Consider cutting the power supply to your bedroom at night.
While unplugging electronic devices can help, you might consider turning off the circuit breaker that provides power to your sleeping area. If you’re not sure which one it is, switch off each circuit until you find it. You can also invest in a demand switch or cut-off switch that automatically cuts the flow of electricity to the room when there is no demand for it. If your breaker is in an easy to reach place, it can be a simple habit to just turn off the bedroom breakers before you go to sleep.
There are many other steps you can take to improve the EMF (electromagnetic) environment in your sleeping area.
https://www.windheimemfsolutions.com/client-success-less-emf-less-anxiety-and-better-sleep/ - source of graphic on melatonin
3 Pineal Melatonin Level Disruption in Humans Due to Electromagnetic Fields and ICNIRP Limits
Andrea Fabry is a former journalist, certified building biology practitioner, and the mother of nine children. She is the founder of momsAWARE, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues. Her journey began in 2008 when a serious toxic mold exposure compromised her family’s health. Since then, she has discovered a passion for non-toxic living and enjoys educating and empowering others. She is the author of Is Your House Making You Sick? A Beginner’s Guide to Toxic Mold.