illustration of lady laying in bed surrounded by electronics
Chaaya Prabhat
Chaaya Prabhat
Health

This Two-Second Habit Will Boost Your Health

A simple nightly step few of us ever think of can support weight management, pain relief, memory, sleep and stamina.

A few years ago, my 13-year-old daughter constantly complained of headaches. I tried everything, from updating her glasses prescription, to encouraging her to get more sleep and drink more water, to cutting back on the time she spent in front of TV and computer screens. Nothing relieved her. Throughout the next year, I started researching online and began visiting an integrative doctor. I learned that the technology we love and can barely live without is both an asset and a health risk.

Back in 1999, I “cut the cable” on my home landline service to strictly use my mobile phone. I’ve always adapted quickly to any cool app, and I welcomed any tool that could support my hectic lifestyle, so I enjoyed the feeling of connectivity and ease that my smartphone provided.

My love affair with technology was solid until I heard an interview with a reporter on my local news radio station imploring listeners to turn off their Wi-Fi router boxes before bed each night. My interest was piqued, so I studied it some more and came across some jarring facts — electric and magnetic fields, or radiation, was starting to take a huge toll on our bodies. It was serious, a potential global health crisis that nobody was really talking about. Turns out Wi-Fi exposure is now considered the new smoking.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, associated with electrical power and natural and manmade lighting. They’re generated from cellphones, Wi-Fi networks, cell towers, house energy smart meters, everyday appliances, electronics and basic electrical wiring inside your home. If you’ve never heard of that before — I hadn't either! — it’s probably because electromagnetic fields are invisible, odorless and undetectable to humans except when a special meter is used.

Whether we’ve heard of them or not, EMFs are harmful body invaders, just like any other environmental toxin, and interfere with our health at the cellular level. Are you a night owl exhausted from a lack of sleep or is it hard to remember things as quickly as you used to because you’re “getting up there?” It could be EMF exposure. Studies by Dr. Magda Havas, an associate professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, prove that EMFs cause DNA damage, hormone imbalances, obesity, mental fog, memory loss, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and rapid aging syndrome, a condition that accelerates the body’s aging process.

Our children are the most vulnerable because their skin and bones are thinner and their tissues retain more water, causing the brain to absorb substantially higher doses of radiation. Remember my daughter's recurring headaches? Well, once I learned of the dangers of EMF exposure, I realized that her bed, particularly her pillow, leaned directly against the other side of the wall from my Wi-Fi router and entertainment center in the living room. For five years, her brain had been exposed to EMFs every night while she was sleeping and I didn’t even know it.

Thankfully, her headaches went away within a few weeks of turning off the Wi-Fi router at night and moving her bed away from that wall. We’ve also made a few other small changes to ensure we limit the inevitable exposure to EMF in our home, favorite coffee shops and stores and now even our cars.

Here are three simple ways to help reduce some of your exposure to electromagnetic frequency and radiation according to Nick Pineault’s book, The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology.

1. Change your phone habits.
• Use airplane mode anytime you’re not using your phone.
• Instead of holding your phone to your ear, use the speaker feature or corded earbuds for calls.
• Don’t put the phone in your pocket or near your body. (The fine print on the iPhone pamphlet includes a clear warning about doing this.)

2. Untether from technology at bedtime.
• Turn your Wi-Fi router off at night.
• Don’t sleep with your mobile phone in your room because EMF pollution inhibits the body’s natural ability to heal and you need time to repair, regenerate and restore while you sleep.
• Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock instead of using your phone to wake up.

3. Avoid Bluetooth technology.
• Use wired headsets instead of Bluetooth earpieces and in-car connections.
• Turn off the Bluetooth feature on your phone.
• Refuse smart meters, which gas, electric and other utility companies are marketing to customers so they don’t have to send employees to your home to check your usage.
• Forgo other technologies that rely on a Bluetooth connection (e.g., speakers, Alexa, Fitbit). Consider a hard-wired internet hookup instead.

Let’s face it — most of us aren’t going to give up the convenience of our favorite technology. But it’s important that you’re aware of the risks of using it and take action to protect yourself and the people you love.

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Chaaya Prabhat