EMFs and Sleep Disturbance
Sleep Deprivation and EMFs
Statistics printed in May 2014 suggest that approximately 10% of U.S. adults have a chronic insomnia disorder and sadly the figure is increasing daily.
Our immune system does its major repair work while we sleep. This is when the cells of our body regenerate, rejuvenate and detoxify.
What does this mean on a cellular level? It means that if at night our cells and organs are not able to perform these processes and our cell membranes are subjected to constant stress, then healthy cells can be damaged while unhealthy cells, that’s to say infections, mutations and neural disorders, can proliferate.
Night time is also the time when the pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and contributes to many vital bodily processes. Studies show that exposures to EMFs impede the production of melatonin.
If our sleeping space is not conducive to the deep sleep phase, eventually our immune system will become overburdened and we’ll be opening the door to illness.
Studies show EMF exposure can interrupt sleep cycles and are linked to a host of ailments and symptoms like: irritation of allergies, tiredness upon awakening, heart palpitations, muscle pain and weakness and daytime irritability as well as generally weakening your immune system.
Suggestions to lower the EMFs at night
1. Cellular Phones
Your cell phone at close proximity can play havoc with your sleep pattern and immune system.
If you must use your phone for an alarm, keep it at least 3 feet from your bed and MOST IMPORTANTLY ensure you place it on flight mode and disable any WiFi or Bluetooth before retiring for the night.
2. Cordless Phones
A cordless phone is like a mini cell phone tower in your home. You don’t want this anywhere in your home but especially next to your head when you’re sleeping. Remove cordless telephones from your bedroom and use a regular, wired phone if you need to stay in touch with the outside world during sleeping hours. This principle applies to wireless baby monitors and wireless speakers; they really need to be removed.
Avoid exposing yourself to bright lights in the two hours before you sleep, exposures of this kind will disturb your natural sleep pattern and can create long term harm. Several studies have suggested that keeping our bodies exposed to artificial light at night, increases cancer risk, especially for cancers such as breast and prostate cancers.
If you use CFLs (compact fluorescent light-bulbs) get rid of them. CFLs emit electromagnetic radiation as a bi product of the energy saving mechanism used to reduce voltage. Just hold an AM radio close to a lit CFL bulb and listen to the radiation. Instead of CFLs use incandescent bulbs.
4. Electrical Devices
Unplug all electronics during sleeping hours. Use a battery-powered alarm clock and never sleep under an electric blanket.
One of the most important but overlooked elements in sleep disturbance is the placement of wired, electrical devices or AC (transformers used to charge or power devices) sources in your bedroom. These devices emit surprisingly strong electrical fields, even if the appliance is turned off – above 1 mG is considered dangerous. There are countless sources within your home that can contribute to the constant radiation of erratic electrical fields, so for sure you don’t want any of these devices in your bedroom. Keep things like TVs, stereos, air con units, refrigerators, at least 6 feet away, that means 6 feet in the vertical sense too. Make sure your fuse box is not within this distance.
Even after following the above advice on electrical devices, and especially if you have a sensitivity, you may also need to cut the power supply on the circuit breaker for your bedroom before you retire for the night. If you’re unsure which circuit breaker controls your bedroom power, just switch off the circuits one by one until you find which one switches off the power in your bedroom and from the room beneath it because of the light circuitry.
If you use a wireless router in your home you are transmitting a radio frequency signal that adds to the toxic load that your body has to deal with, further interfering with your ability to sleep. Instead use a wired internet connection with an Ethernet cable making sure that the Wifi is switched off AND the wireless application is deactivated. It is essential that you switch both applications off to prevent radiation being emitted thereafter.
If you live in a built up area, there will almost certainly be one if not more cell phone towers beaming in to your home which can be investigated via user friendly detectors. We offer the rental option on a couple of good ones here. You can then decide how best to shield yourself from the harmful effects of cell tower radiation. There are special shielding materials for the bed and windows which significantly reduce your exposure. We have received some great testimonies from customers who have rented our sleep solution and then committed to buying, the results being so positive.
6. Neighbor Generated Electrical Pollution
Don’t ignore neighbor generated electrical pollution. You might have everything switched off in your home, your own electrical supply may be clean and your internal electrical pollution may be negligible, but neighbourhood wireless applications and Wifi emitting radiation 24/7 can travel and exacerbate your symptoms.
7. Blackout Your Bedroom
The more you can achieve total blackout conditions to sleep in the more chance you have of going into a deep, restful, restorative sleep. It is best to avoid prescribed sleeping tablets as these will inevitably be chemical based, they will thus contain toxins and long term will almost certainly aggravate your condition. A good Melatonin supplement might be useful to kick start a good sleeping pattern in the short term, but being synthetic they should be limited and not relied upon long term in our opinion.
8. High Levels of EMFs from Nearby Cell Phone Towers
If in doubt about this, hire or buy an EMF meter to check the levels of wireless radiation in your home and in particular your bedroom. If this is a problem then your top priority needs to be the bedroom and a sleep solution, assuming moving house is not an option.
If the level of electromagnetic pollution in your bedroom is high you might like to hire one of our sleep solutions. Read our complete list here. For a more subtle protection, you might prefer to paint the walls and ceilings and hang netting at the windows. Many people ignore the windows but it is crucial if you are in a cell tower beam to shield your windows as they are more porous than walls.
Safe Radiation Levels
As the international guidelines currently stand, there is much confusion over the level of radiation that is considered “safe”.
The Building Biology Evaluation Guidelines, widely recognized as being among the most prudent, have the following four basic categories of concern for sleeping areas; nil, slight, severe and extreme anomaly. The guidelines give suggested safe levels of radiation for electric, magnetic and RF radiation. It’s important to test your environment for at least these three categories of EMFs.
These guidelines are stringent but attaining even the lowest EMF exposure levels recommended by Building Biology means you are still exposing yourself to higher levels of EMFs than those which are naturally occurring in nature.
Michael Bevington in his book “Electromagnetic sensitivity and Hypersensitivity” notes that the EMF exposure levels in nature are:
• Magnetic Field: 0.000002mG (or 0.0002 nT)
• Electric Field: 0.0001 V/M
• Radiofrequency Radiation:<0.00002 V/M
When we compare even the lowest, strictest levels of Building Biology magnetic field Guidelines (<0.2mG) to those found in nature (0.000002mG) there is a difference of many orders of magnitude.
The same goes for radio frequency radiation as for electric fields.
Reducing exposure to man-made EMFs can be achieved by following the steps outlined above and increasing exposure to the natural EMFs of the earth can be achieved by grounding (there are some caveats).
This might not be easy to attain but if you are suffering from electrosensitivity which your GP might have diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia or even Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), sleeping in such an environment is the fastest route to regain your health and vitality.
No Place to Hide, Volume 2, Number 3 March 2000, p. 19 based on Neuroscience Letters, November 1999 pp 207-210
Medical implications of melatonin: receptor-mediated and receptor-independent actions. www.advms.pl. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.
Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2013 May;154(4):405-16. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncs255. Epub 2012 Oct 10.
Pineal melatonin level disruption in humans due to electromagnetic fields and ICNIRP limits.