How Wi-Fi can affect your sleep

Do you have trouble getting to sleep, have busy dreams all night long or wake up feeling exhausted? The cause of these problems may be something you can easily change.

Mobile phone

There are many causes of insomnia and busy dreams, but a common one that is often misunderstood, overlooked and very easy to remedy can be traced back to one of the following:

  • You leave your Wi-Fi turned on all night in your home
  • You keep your mobile phone, tablet or another type of Wi-Fi device near your bed with the Wi-Fi enabled
  • You have a cordless (DECT) phone base on your bedside table

Any of these will expose you while you sleep to the type of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation known as Wi-Fi, and if any device is also plugged into the mains to draw power or recharge, it will emit power-frequency electromagnetic radiation too.

Why EMFs are a problem

The pulsing of both types of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can disrupt the ability of your body’s immune system to do the cellular repair work it needs to do during the hours of sleep, which can lead to a range of sleep and health problems. Daytime exposure can affect you too, but sleeping with a Wi-Fi device turned on and recharging next to your bed (or worse still, under your pillow) is one of the dumbest things you can do. I am constantly amazed by how many people do this.

Then there are the spiritual repercussions, which is a topic I go into in some depth in my Change Your Bedroom, Change Your Life online course. EMFs can severely interfere with the specific spiritual processes that are supposed to happen while we sleep.

What to do

The solution is simple. Turn off the Wi-Fi function of your router before sleep every night and put your phone in airplane mode. It helps if your broadband supplier provides the type of router that allows you to turn off the WiFi at the click of a button. Some do. Some don’t. If yours doesn’t, switch to a router that has a simple on/off Wi-Fi button, such as the type sold by Netgear.

Most people are amazed at the difference this makes.. Some can feel it immediately. Others find it takes up to a week for the change to become appararent.

In our home, we actually do the reverse of this. We keep our Wi-Fi turned off all the time and only turn it on for a few minutes when necessary – for example, to download Kindle books. The rest of the time we connect our computers to our router via ethernet cables, which emit no EMFs at all, day or night.


Some people say they have to keep their phone next to their bed because they use it as an alarm clock. But you do not need to keep the Wi-Fi turned on for this and you could just as easily use a battery-powered alarm clock, which will be EMF-free. You can then recharge your phone in another room or on the other side of the bedroom, far enough away from you that it will not affect your sleep.

Another excuse I commonly hear, especially from teenagers, is that they feel the need to constantly check their messages because of FOMO (fear of Missing Out). A 2016 survey conducted by Digital Awareness UK and Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference found that 45 percent of 11 to 18-year-olds check their phone during the night, and one in ten admit to checking more than ten times a night. Not surprisingly, many said they felt tired during the day and that this affected their school work. As is typical of addictive behaviour, a third of all the children surveyed said that they checked for messages secretively, without their parents knowing.

It’s not me, it’s my neighbour

The pervasive nature of WiFi signals can mean that even if you turn off all the Wi-Fi devices in your own home, you may still be bombarded by radiation from external sources such as a local phone mast or your neighbour’s router. You can find more information about how to combat that in the Related articles section below.

Related articles
How to shield your home from neighbourhood Wi-Fi
Why cordless phones are not cool
Do you really need to open your bedroom window when you sleep?

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2015, updated 2022

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui, and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must-read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fifth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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2 Responses to How Wi-Fi can affect your sleep

  1. Hi Karen.
    I have moved the router out of my bedroom and downstairs. Whenever I tell people that I will be switching it off at night and back on again in the morning, everyone says that I shouldn’t mess around with it, as the constant switching off and on will damage it. Is there any substance to this claim or is it just a new ‘old wives tale’? Thank you.

    1. Hi Sally – Internet service providers generally recommend turning a router off and on about once a month to clear its cache and improve its speed and security. They do not advise turning it off every night because that can cause boot issues, which is why I said in my article to “turn off the Wi-Fi function of your router before sleep every night”. not turn off the router itself. On some types of routers, this can be done at the click of a button.

      If yours doesn’t have that function, you will need to go into the device settings to manually turn the Wi-Fi off. It would be tedious to do this every night, so it would be far better to switch to a router that has an on/off Wi-Fi switch, or best of all, switch to using only ethernet cabled devices in your home so you are not subject to Wi-Fi frequencies during the day or night. That’s what we do in our home and I was happy to discover recently that more and more builders here in the UK are now installing ethernet cabling to all rooms as standard to give people this freedom.

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