Perhaps men of procreative age should think twice about reaching for their smartphone or tablet at night. A new study found correlations between nighttime electronic media use and poor sperm quality.
Study finds evidence of sperm damage
As the results published in May in the journal Sleep show, increased use of light-emitting media devices in the evening and after bedtime is associated with poorer sperm quality. Both the quantity of sperm and the ability of sperm to swim properly were all lower. The percentage of completely immobile sperm was also higher in men who reported using smartphones and tablets more often in the evening or at night.
The Israeli researchers examined the semen samples of 116 men aged 21 to 59 who underwent fertility testing. The participants filled out questionnaires about their sleeping habits and use of electronic devices.
Is short-wave light the cause?
Numerous studies have already linked the use of smartphones or tablets in the evening and at night with problems falling asleep. Until now, the electromagnetic waves were usually considered the source of danger. This is the first study to link decreasing sperm quality to the exposure time to short-wave light emitted by digital media, especially smartphones and tablets.
The relatively small number of participants and the fact that the usage time of the devices was reported by the participants and not objectively measured is problematic. The latter would be easy to do via an app.
The study also found a correlation between longer sleep duration and higher sperm count and greater motility. In contrast, higher sleepiness was associated with poorer sperm quality. So, in my opinion, it is questionable whether it is really the light when using the devices that is responsible for the phenomenon or simply the sleep deficit associated with it.
A Green, S Barak, L Shine, A Kahane, A Dagan, Y Dagan. 0029 Light Emitted from Media Devices at Night is Associated with Decline in Sperm Quality. Sleep, 2020; 43: A12 DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsaa056.028
Image: Fotolia.de Ana Pavlovic (modified)