Some people may still sleep poorly even after following the basic tips from "The Real Reasons Electronics Are Affecting Our Sleep." In 2005, I was sleeping so poorly that I had to be hospitalized. I tried everything I could find: doctors, medicines, supplements, neurofeedback. I saw some minor improvement, but nothing really restored that deep rejuvenating sleep I had known for years.
One day, on vacation, I realized that I could actually sleep well in some places. What was different? My bedroom at home was pretty quiet, except for a subtle high pitched noise. I became convinced that the noise was the cause of my sleep disturbance. It took me three years to find the source of the noise. The most helpful person was a building biologist who helped measure EMF (electromagnetic fields), wireless radiation and electrical noise (dirty electricity) on our household wiring.
We put in a few dirty electrical noise filter plugs and I noticed the pitch of the noise I heard at night changed and I finally started to sleep better again. Eventually, I turned off the wi-fi permanently and switched to wired Ethernet for all our computers. We also replaced our cordless phone with a corded phone. Additionally, we reduced levels of magnetic fields and electric fields (EMFs) in our bedrooms. The fields "carry" the noise, just like a speaker transmits sound. When the fields are lower, it's like lowering the volume of a stereo speaker.
The hardest part of the experience for me was recognizing that technology could be a problem. I worked in Silicon Valley and had always viewed technology as good and completely safe. This belief proved to be not entirely correct. I now fund work to raise awareness about wireless safety and the safety of EMF (electromagnetic fields), including their potential role in the rising autism epidemic (Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link - Part I).
Sadly, like me, most people have assumed that this is all completely safe and well tested. Some sleep labs at very elite universities even advertise that they have Wi-Fi in their labs. I have yet to find a study that demonstrates Wi-Fi does not affect sleep. The emerging data on wireless and EMF shows that our biological processes are impacted at very fundamental levels.
Here are some more advanced tips for sleeping well without interference from wireless radiation and EMF:
- Measure the level of electrical noise in your home's wiring with a Stetzerizer or Greenwave meter. Use the meter to locate high sources of electrical noise and find devices that might be generating it.
- Don't sleep with your head near a power panel or circuit breaker box. These are sources of high magnetic fields.
- Consider moving your head away from the A/C plugs around the wall or try sleeping with your head toward the middle of the room.
- If you have a smart meter, consider opting out. They emit a wireless pulse every 6 seconds and the switching power supply in the units can increase the electrical noise in your home.
- Look for other sources of constant wireless radiation: alarm systems, wireless weather stations and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices.
- Hire a building biologist or environmental consultant to come to your house to measure EMF levels and look for other sources of wireless radiation and EMF. Some sources of exposure may be outside your home and they can help you shield your home from those exposures.
Almost everyone is now affected by this rising threat to healthy sleep. Most people know something is wrong, but have failed to find the invisible factor affecting sleep. I hope that after reading these articles this factor is now clear to you, and that you will take action to mitigate it to improve your sleep and your family's sleep.
Peter Sullivan is an environmental health advocate, autism funder and writer. He lives in Los Altos, California with his wife and two boys.