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Sleep Disorders

22 January 2008

Insomnia blamed on cell phones

Chatting on a mobile phone before bedtime may make for more restless nights, cautions a Swedish researcher who headed up a study on the subject.

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Chatting on a mobile phone before bedtime may make for more restless nights, cautions a Swedish researcher who headed up a study on the subject.

"If you feel you have trouble sleeping, you should think about not talking on a mobile phone right before you go to bed," said Bengt Arnetz, a professor of social medicine and stress research at Uppsala University, north of Stockholm.

Arnetz, who spoke to AFP in a telephone interview from the United States, said he and a team of researchers from Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Wayne State University in Michigan had found that mobile phone radiation appeared to cause insomnia, headaches and concentration difficulties.

Over a period of 18 months, the scientists studied 35 men and 36 women between the ages of 18 and 45, intermittently exposing some to 884 MHz wireless signals, the equivalent of the radiation received when talking on a cell phone.

Others meanwhile were placed in the same conditions but received only sham exposure.

"The ones who were exposed reported headaches, it took longer for them to fall asleep and they did not sleep as well through the night," Arnetz said, claiming his was the largest study so far on the subject.

"We had enormous amounts of data," he said, adding that further study was needed to determine how exactly the radiation was upsetting sleep patterns. – (Sapa-AFP)

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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