The Effect Of Smartphones On Dream Quality And Recall


Here’s a personal observation I’ve made over numerous occasions…but I didn’t even want to believe the conclusion. And that is: sleeping either listening to my iPhone (you know, to meditative music or a podcast) or having my iPhone even near me (by the pillow/on the bed) greatly messes up my dream quality and recall. I mean: messes them up to the point where it almost “bleaches” them out completely.

The first time I noticed this was after I temporarily “banished” my phone from the bedroom after reading an article about its possible impact on the pineal gland. To replace the uses of the phone for my sleeping needs, I bought a little battery-powered wooden alarm clock and an inexpensive Conair sound machine (for white noise). Not only did I sleep better, but my dreams were far more vivid & I remembered more of them when I awoke.

But then I had insomnia one night before work, I didn’t know what to do…and so I fell back on the pattern of using my phone. And I just forgot about my little experiment.

Over the last month, however, I tried ditching the phone again for a couple of 2-3 day stretches. And it was clear: my dreaming quality and recall MASSIVELY improved without the iPhone near me (it was in a drawer by by bed instead). My dreams also seemed to contain more valuable information and commentary; rather than sort of being more “stress” dreams and rando nonsense and stuff like that.

In short, I began to have the type of long, vivid dreams I used to have from the mid-90s all the way to the early Aughts.

And why did my dreams seem to largely “stop” or fade away quickly after around 2009 or so???

Hahaha, that was when I started using an iPhone!

That’s CRAZY!!!! What…it’s almost been TEN YEARS of very little dream material because of my PHONE?!!!

The sad part is: it’s still a struggle for me to put the phone away at night—I think not just out of the fear of insomnia, but just this goddamn psychological attachment to the goddamn smartphone. But if the function of dreams is, in part, to help us with personal development and self-actualization…what does it mean that the dream cycle is so disturbed just by the phone?

I go back to the studies regarding smartphones and the pineal gland, and just the impact of the light from the screens on our normal sleeping patterns.

Even if you take the kooky dream stuff out of the equation, that still seems like a problem. What has been the collective impact on these phones on the sleep and rest of the populace?