We all can think of ways our smartphone probably isn’t helping our health. They give us easy access to fast food delivery apps, help us waste time on social media and occasionally distract us from necessary tasks like cooking or exercising.
But a new study found that our phones could be having a measurable physical effect on our health.
Researchers at the Universities of Strasbourg and Amsterdam conducted a study to see if there was a link between exposure to blue light from LED screens and appetite increase, Ladders reports, but it found much more than just that.
Through experiments on male rats, researchers discovered that even one hour of nighttime blue light exposure raised their blood sugar and caused them to eat more sugar as well, according to Science Daily.
“To investigate what happens with appetite control and food choice after exposure to blue light at night, the rats were given the option to choose among a nutritionally balanced food (standard rodent food), water, lard, and sugar water. After the exposure to blue light, they observed that the male animals drank more sugar that night than during the nights with no blue light exposure,” according to Science Daily.
That’s right, your late night scroll through Facebook or your Netflix binging could be what’s making you crave sweets, according to the study’s lead author, Anayanci Masís-Vargas.
“Limiting the amount of time that we spend in front of screens at night is, for now, the best measure to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of blue light. In case it is necessary to be exposed to devices at night, I would recommend the use of apps and night mode features on the devices, which turn the screens more orange and less blue or the use of blue light filtering googles that are already available in the market,” Masís-Vargas said, according to Science Daily.
Late night exposure to blue light has previously been linked to insomnia, cancer, heart disease and even diabetes by researchers at Harvard Medical School.
DW suggests smartphone users make sure to switch to dark mode on their apps at night to help mitigate blue light exposure.