Effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones (GSM 900 and WCDMA/UMTS) on the macrostructure of sleep

J Sleep Res. 2011 Mar;20(1 Pt 1):73-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2010.00850.x.


In the present double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled cross-over study, possible effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) 900 and Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (WCDMA)/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) cell-phones on the macrostructure of sleep were investigated in a laboratory environment. An adaptation night, which served as screening night for sleep disorders and as an adjustment night to the laboratory environment, was followed by 9 study nights (separated by a 2-week interval) in which subjects were exposed to three exposure conditions (sham, GSM 900 and WCDMA/UMTS). The sample comprised 30 healthy male subjects within the age range 18-30 years (mean ± standard deviation: 25.3 ± 2.6 years). A cell-phone usage at maximum radio frequency (RF) output power was simulated and the transmitted power was adjusted in order to approach, but not to exceed, the specific absorption rate (SAR) limits of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for general public exposure (SAR(10g) = 2.0 W kg(-1)). In this study, possible effects of long-term (8 h) continuous RF exposure on the central nervous system were analysed during sleep, because sleep is a state in which many confounding intrinsic and extrinsic factors (e.g. motivation, personality, attitude) are eliminated or controlled. Thirteen of 177 variables characterizing the initiation and maintenance of sleep in the GSM 900 and three in the WCDMA exposure condition differed from the sham condition. The few significant results are not indicative of a negative impact on sleep architecture. From the present results there is no evidence for a sleep-disturbing effect of GSM 900 and WCDMA exposure.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Electromyography
  • Electrooculography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / radiation effects*
  • Sleep Stages / radiation effects
  • Young Adult