MSU Study Finds Nighttime Smartphone Use Decreases Work Productivity

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Using your smartphone when you're supposed to be sleeping at night, not only affects your sleep schedule, but zaps your energy, hurting your productivity in the workplace. That's according to a new study from Michigan State University. Smartphones are designed to disrupt sleep. Business researchers at MSU surveyed upper-level managers across the country, and found the more time they spent on their smartphones, cramming in work after 9 PM, the less work they got done the next day.

Brent Scott always has his smartphone on hand. "I would say I check it pretty frequently, and usually right before bed I'm looking at it to make sure nothing critical came up," said Brent Scott, an Associate Professor of Management at MSU.

Most of us do this. We think it makes us productive, problem-solving, dedicated employees. right? But, a new study conducted by business researchers at Michigan State says, think again.

"The amount of time people spent using their smart phone after 9 PM had a detrimental effect on sleep that night, as well as it carried over and impacted how fatigued they were the following morning," said Russell Johnson, Assistant Professor of Management at MSU.

So, the more time people spent cramming in extra work at night., the less productive they were on the job the following day.

"You just can't detach, when it's sitting beside you on the bed stand, and you're continually getting messages and texts that really does make it difficult to disengage from work," said Johnson.

And research also shows the blue-light displays on most smartphones decrease Melatonin production- also reducing the likelihood of falling asleep. But what about computer, laptop, and TV use for work purposes?

"That had almost no effect whatsoever on how fatigued they were the next day," said Johnson.

So smartphones are the sleep snatcher but, are we really going to change? We can't even walk straight we're on our phones so much.

"I think people have become so connected to them we feel lost without them," said Scott.

We probably won't change, but researchers urge bosses to wait until morning to send that e-mail update. If you want employees at their best.

This study only explored smartphone use for work purposes. For his next study, researcher Russ Johnson wants to look into how smartphone use for entertainment purposes or non-work related communication impacts sleep. He thinks that may actually improve sleep.