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Trouble sleeping? This could be why

By Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: Feb 17 2013 06:30:13 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 17 2013 05:00:00 PM CST
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Many people use their iPhones as alarm clocks, so setting your wake up call before bed usually equates to one last text message or Instagram update.

All the cellular action makes it difficult to ever feel unplugged from work and social networks.

Major mobile phone makers funded a study in 2008, showing people exposed to mobile radiation took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in deep sleep.

"The study indicates that during laboratory exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals components of sleep believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear are adversely affected," the study concluded.

That's just a physical symptom of sleeping near the phone - "sham" exposure to a phone without radiation failed to produce the same effect. The itch to check in at all hours of the night or wake up to the sound of a text message disrupts our sleep, too. A quarter of young people feel like they must be available by phone around the clock, according to a Swedish study that linked heavy cell phone use to sleeping problems, stress and depression. Unreturned messages carry more guilt when the technology to address them lies at our fingertips. Some teens even return text messages while they are asleep.

Most of us choose not to set limits on our nighttime availability. Nearly three-quarters of people from the age of 18 to 44 sleep with their phones within reach, according to a 2012 Time/Qualcomm poll. That number falls off slightly in middle age, but only in people 65 and older is leaving the phone in another room as common as sleeping right next it.