Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Do mobile phone base stations affect sleep of residents? Results from an experimental double-blind sham-controlled field study med./bio.

Published in: Am J Hum Biol 2010; 22 (5): 613-618

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effects of electromagnetic fields of mobile phone base stations on objective and subjective sleep quality.

Background/further details

397 residents (aged 18-81 years; 50.9 % female) from 10 German sites, where no mobile phone service was available, were exposed to sham exposure and GSM base station signals by an experimental base station while their sleep was monitored at their homes. Participants were randomly exposed to real or sham exposure for five nights each. 335 subjects were included in objective sleep quality analysis and 365 subjects in subjective sleep quality.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900–1,800 MHz
Exposure duration: 5 nights

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 900–1,800 MHz
Exposure duration 5 nights
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup two GSM 900 and two GSM 1800 channels were used for each sector; channels set to maximum transmit power in all eight time slots; additional generic GSM signals using six of the eight available time slots were transmitted to all sectors for both GSM 900 and GSM 1,800 to increase amplitude modulation
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info distance of the experimental base station to the houses: up to 500 m

No parameters are specified for this exposure.

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The analysis of the subjective and objective sleep data did not reveal any significant differences between the real exposure and sham exposure. During sham exposure nights, objective and subjective sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, and subjective sleep latency were significantly worse in participants with concerns about possible health risks resulting from base stations than in participants who were not concerned.
In conclusion, the study did not provide any evidence for short-term physiological effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phone base stations on objective and subjective sleep quality. However, the findings indicate that mobile phone base stations as such (not the electromagnetic fields) may have a significant negative impact on sleep quality.

Study character:

Study funded by

Related articles