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While discussing WiFi router safety tips with a friend, they asked me if it’s safe to sleep next to a WiFi router. I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but I decided to do some more research to find out a definite answer.
So, is it safe to sleep next to a WiFi router? WiFi routers, like all electronic devices, give off EMF radiation, which is obviously strongest when you’re right next to the device. For this reason, it’s best to avoid sleeping next to a WiFi router because this means you’ll be exposed to its radiation for a good 8 hours, which isn’t great.
In this article I look at why it’s best to avoid exposing yourself to too much radiation from your router, along with the possible health implications of doing so. Read on to find out more about WiFi routers and radiation.
Read my article on safe distances from WiFi routers.
Is it safe to sleep next to a WiFi router?
Along with WiFi signal, routers also give out energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. This is given out by all electronic devices, and can be in the form of heat, microwaves, or other frequencies.
Opinions on whether this is harmful to the human body differ, as some people say that the levels produced by typical household devices isn’t enough to cause damage. However, the biggest issue is that this technology hasn’t been around long enough for us to know its impacts on our health.
EMF radiation is measured in micro-watts per centimeter squared, and you can expect a typical ambient rating, when not around electronic devices, of about 9. However, the apparent safe levels recommended are under 1,000 micro-watts per centimeter squared, although this will depend on the country you live in.
The EMF radiation given off by a WiFi router can be as high as 400 watts per centimeter squared when you’re standing directly in front of it, and this is 400 times higher than the recommended safe levels! Once you get about 6ft away from the router this will drop considerably, but it’ll still be quite high.
So being exposed to this kind of EMF radiation while you’re sleeping can’t be a good thing. There are very few reasons why you might want to keep a WiFi router in your bedroom, particularly seeing as most have pretty good coverage, and you’re less likely to be using it in your bedroom anyway.
Blasting yourself with high levels of EMF radiation during a typical 8 hours of sleep can have a range of negative impacts on your sleeping pattern.
Among the many health impacts reportedly related to EMF exposure is insomnia or sleep disturbance. Therefore, you should do everything possible to avoid having your WiFi router in your bedroom.
In fact, I’d avoid having your WiFi on during the night anyway (read this RELATED ARTICLE). It’s the time when you’re not going to be using it, so you might as well turn it off.
If you like to watch TV in bed, then consider an Ethernet cable or a timed switch on your router. This is the easiest way to reduce your exposure to EMF radiation overnight.
Symptoms and health impacts of EMF exposure
Some people are much more sensitive to EMF exposure than others. However, some people might not even know they’re sensitive to EMF radiation, and sleeping next to their WiFi router could be causing a whole range of problems they’re not aware of.
I’d do everything possible to avoid sleeping anywhere near your WiFi router, or any electrical devices for that matter. If you’ve been doing so, then you might be suffering from EMF exposure, the symptoms of which include:
- Difficulty waking up
- Lethargy and tiredness
- Lack of concentration
- Headache or migraine
- Loss of appetite
- Skin irritation
- Memory issues
Many of these symptoms can be written off as general tiredness or feeling “run down”, meaning many people might not know they’re suffering from EMF exposure. Considering there’s a link between EMF exposure and sleep problems, it makes sense to avoid having your WiFi router in your bedroom.
Also, you’re more sensitive to EMF radiation while you’re sleeping, not for any scientific reason, but for the simple fact that you’re lying in one place for an extended period of time. This means that any local sources of EMF radiation are going to be hitting you at the same levels for all that time.
I go out of my way to protect my bedroom from all sources of EMF radiation, as this is the time in which your body needs to heal and repair itself, so shouldn’t be dealing with EMF exposure at the same time. Once I treated my bedroom, I found I was sleeping much better than before.
Protecting your bedroom from EMF radiation
So, on top of not sleeping next to a WiFi router, I’d recommend going further and actively protecting your bedroom from EMF radiation. Eventually, this should have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep, which is nothing but a good thing.
Before suggesting the best ways to do this, it’s worth pointing out that you’re never going to completely remove EMF radiation from the room, but you can definitely try some things to reduce levels.
The first tool you’ll need for any of these is an EMF radiation meter. I recommend the Trifield TF2(check price on Amazon) because it is versatile and is reasonably priced. Read my review if you’re not sure.
The EMF meter will help you take readings of EMF radiation so you’ll know whether your methods have worked. Just for interest, take a reading next to your WiFi router and see how much EMF radiation it’s pumping out.
Here are the best ways to reduce EMF radiation in your bedroom (aside from not sleeping next to a router):
1. Remove electronic devices
This might seem like a no-brainer, but get rid of your electronic devices. There’s no reason to sleep with your phone/router/TV in the room, as all of these will pump out EMF radiation, even while not in use.
Something like an alarm clock is fine because these use very little power, so give out very, very low levels of radiation. Removing electronic devices from your bedroom will not only reduce levels of EMF radiation, but will also help your sleeping pattern because you won’t be on your phone all night.
2. Block it at the source
Another option is to try and block the EMF radiation at its source. The worst offenders are things like WiFi routers and smart meters, so start with these, but also use your EMF radiation meter to test other devices around the home.
The easiest way to block EMF radiation is with a Faraday cage, which is just a metal cage that sits around the device. Plenty of companies make specific ones for specific devices, so you should have little difficulty finding them.
3. Use an EMF blocking bed canopy
You can now buy EMF blocking canopies (like this one on Amazon) for your bed, which are basically metal mesh curtains and turn your bed into a Faraday cage. These usually do a pretty good job of blocking EMF radiation, but can be very expensive.
Read my buying guide on EMF blocking bed canopies.
Even if you buy a bed canopy, I’d recommend still removing electronic devices from your bedroom. This will mean that you’re only needing to block general ambient EMF radiation, rather than local strong sources.
4. Turn off your WiFi
Simply turning off your WiFi (link to related article) while you’re sleeping is probably the easiest and most effective way to reduce your exposure to EMF radiation. If you do this then you could leave the router next to your bed, but I don’t know why you’d want to if it’s not even turned on.
Similarly, you can use turning off the router as a reason to disconnect from your other electronic devices before you go to bed. Reducing your exposure to blue-wave light at least 30 minutes before you sleep will make it much easier to do so.
The cheapest option is to rearrange your bedroom so that you’re as far away as possible from the source of EMF radiation. There might be reasons why you can’t remove your WiFi router from your bedroom, in which case you’ll want to move furniture.
Basically, be as far away from the router as possible, but at least 6 feet is recommended. This is when levels of EMF radiation start dropping off, so you’ll at least reduce your exposure. If you have to keep your router in your bedroom, and you want it on all night, consider getting a WiFi router cage, which will help block most of the EMF radiation.
Some final thoughts
Sleeping next to a WiFi router really isn’t the best idea because how much EMF radiation it produces. While this isn’t necessarily a problem in short bursts, sleeping next to one for around 8 hours can be harmful to your health.
What’s more, I’ve found that removing all electronic devices from the bedroom is the best way to get a good night’s sleep, even if it just means that you’re not being woken up by those blinking lights!