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Cancer, Early Aging: Doctors Reveal Dangers of Scrolling Through Smartphone Feeds Before Sleep

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The widespread habit of scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram newsfeeds steals not only time from your sleep, but also, in a sense, your health, medics warn.
The practice of gluing your eyes to your devices before going to sleep might have unexpected negative effects on your health, including severe ones, several doctors have warned.
The most obvious effect is the negative impact on sleep. Not only do people sacrifice their sleep hours to scroll through newsfeeds on social media, but they also disrupt the production of melatonin – a hormone crucial for a good night's rest, Russian physician and cardiologist Julia Fokina explained in an interview with Gazeta newspaper.
"A person delays going to bed intentionally without external obstructing circumstances. This action gives them a sense of freedom and control over their life, which they lack so much during the daytime, including at work", Fokina said.
The blue light produced by the device's screen prevents the body from producing the hormone. Blue light filters do not resolve the problem, as melatonin can only be produced in the dark, although the use of this mode is advised in the evening.
Olya Osokina, the founder of the health tech company AIBY, warned about even more dangerous potential consequences of getting stuck following social media feeds at night. According to her, a WHO study showed that night shifts might increase the risk of cancer. Similarly, using devices at night deprives one of sleep and might potentially also increase the risk of facing oncological disorders, Osokina said.

Faster Aging, Spinal Problems, and Impact on Brain Functions

Cardiologist Julia Fokina identified several other negative impacts of late-night social media surfing. Among them is photoaging of the skin due to exposure to the light from the device's screen. This may result in wrinkles, roughness and darkening in some areas of the skin, according to the doctor.
Fokina also warned that people with such a habit might experience a backward curvature of the cervical spine.
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The doctor also warned of some behavioural changes that such practices might entail. According to her, the frequent use of devices to check social media results in a habit of an "abrupt shift of attention". It prevents a person from extracting useful data from the information, thus impeding capabilities for deep analysis. Fokina noted, however, that this phenomenon is believed to be temporary and does not permanently affect one's brain functions.
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