What Happens to Your Brain When You Check Your Phone in the Morning

Updated 10/30/17

For many of us, checking our phone in the morning is second nature. After all, it's a go-to resource for keeping abreast of news, events, and work, so it makes complete sense that it's the first thing we reach for as soon as we wake. If it's part of your morning routine though, studies and experts suggest it could be impacting your brain and stress levels in a surprising way.

Michael McQueen, author of Momentum, says the first 10 minutes of the day are crucial, and checking our phones sets the tone for the day ahead. "A lot of people operate on autopilot, so they jump straight on the phone. … But this means they instantly start spending the day reacting, and they're not in the driver's seat," he tells News. "Straight away the day has been directed by someone else."

Tristan Harris, Google's former design ethicist, says "technology is hijacking your mind," and that it's important to review the way technology enhances our routine. "When we wake up in the morning and turn our phone over to see a list of notifications," he tells Medium. "It frames the experience of 'waking up in the morning' around a menu of 'all the things I've missed since yesterday.'"

A UK study of 2000 workers supports this theory too. Researchers found that checking your phone and getting constant notifications impacts the brain and contributes to feelings of anxiety. "We found a strong relationship between using 'push' email and perceived email pressure," researchers said. "Checking email earlier in the morning or later at night is associated with higher levels of perceived pressure."

The bottom line? Your emails, text messages, and Instagram notifications can wait. Leaving your phone face-down while you shower and get ready for the day ahead might be all it takes to feel less stressed and more in control of the day ahead.

Follow these six successful women to perfect your morning routine.

Related Stories