Effect of restricting bedtime mobile phone use on sleep, arousal, mood, and working memory: A randomized pilot trial

PLoS One. 2020 Feb 10;15(2):e0228756. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228756. eCollection 2020.


Background: This study aimed to assess the effects of restricting mobile phone use before bedtime on sleep, pre-sleep arousal, mood, and working memory.

Methods: Thirty-eight participants were randomized to either an intervention group (n = 19), where members were instructed to avoid using their mobile phone 30 minutes before bedtime, or a control group (n = 19), where the participants were given no such instructions. Sleep habit, sleep quality, pre-sleep arousal and mood were measured using the sleep diary, the Pittsburgh sleep quality index, the Pre-sleep Arousal Scale and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule respectively. Working memory was tested by using the 0-,1-,2-back task (n-back task).

Results: Restricting mobile phone use before bedtime for four weeks was effective in reducing sleep latency, increasing sleep duration, improving sleep quality, reducing pre-sleep arousal, and improving positive affect and working memory.

Conclusions: Restricting mobile phone use close to bedtime reduced sleep latency and pre-sleep arousal and increased sleep duration and working memory. This simple change to moderate usage was recommended to individuals with sleep disturbances.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Arousal*
  • Cell Phone Use / adverse effects*
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sleep*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported by the Mental Health Application Research of PLA (12XLZ109) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81372122) to YT. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.