Do Smartwatches Have Side Effects?

Smartwatches have become a staple in our day-to-day lives. From helping people keep track of their fitness to helping users keep up with their important notifications and updates, these handy gadgets have transformed the way people use their smartphones nowadays.

However, as sleek as these smartwatches look when you wear them; they come with their fair share of complications. Buying a smartwatch means that there is a high affinity that you will wear it throughout the entire day.

In that case, having a clear idea about the pros and cons of these smartwatches is crucial to ensure that you aren’t harming your physical or mental well-being in the long run. This article delves into that and explains things in detail.

Side Effects of Smartwatches

Understanding How Smartwatches Work

Before we give you a rundown of all the side effects of smartwatches and why they aren’t the ideal accessory to wear regularly, let us understand the basics first.

If you haven’t used a smartwatch before, they are a “more portable” version of your smartphone. If you are visiting somewhere with a no phones access policy where you can’t use your phone in real-time or don’t have the means to check the notification that popped up on your phone, a smartwatch is a great alternative for that.

Being confused about its functionality is normal if you haven’t used or owned a smartwatch in your life. How it works is that it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and keeps you updated about notifications, calls, messages, etc.

What are the Benefits of Wearing a Smartwatch?

We have come to a point where we often demonize technology for the slightest inconvenience, not even realizing the extent of the benefit it comes with.

Now, with that said, smartwatches come with a lot of benefits. Using these devices smartphones can help improve our lives exponentially. But we are so beyond the point of compromise that we often end up “overdoing” things.

In most cases, people use smartwatches as fitness trackers to calculate their daily steps and keep a check on their heart rate, temperature, etc. Besides that, the smartwatches do come with their fair share of additional benefits, including:

  • Sleep monitoring
  • Diet planning
  • Heartbeat sensor
  • Pedometers
  • Sleeping schedule monitoring
  • Calorie calculator, etc.

The list of benefits that you can reap with a smartwatch varies gravely, depending on the model and the brand of smartwatch you are wearing.

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Besides the “fitness” side of things, smartwatches are productivity trackers too. They let you keep a check on all your apps, messages, and notifications that are popping up on your smartphone now and then. Some of the most notable productivity features of a smartphone include:

  • Keeping track of your daily schedule
  • Tracking your location
  • Sending emails
  • Keeping a check on the messages
  • Playing games
  • Playing music on different apps
  • Constant reminders

The smartwatches indeed connect to the smartphones via Bluetooth but they do come with separate internet connectivity, which enables you to keep track of all your important functionalities and progress throughout the day.

Some of the high-end smartwatches even come with features that prioritize your safety and come with emergency features support that keeps you safe wherever you are.

However, with all these benefits come a few downsides as well. Like everything in this world, there are some downsides and limitations to using a smartwatch as well. We will discuss more on that in this article.

What do the Articles and Research Say about Wearing Smartwatches?

Wearing smartwatches, for the most part, is safe. This means that if you wear them responsibly and use them safely, they shouldn’t impact your health or well-being in any way.

However, there was some information published a few years ago, that left the users questioning the safety of wearing a smartwatch. Let us further look into those.

New York Times article

An article published in 2015 highlighted research that depicted how smartwatches might be carcinogenic. Now, before you start panicking and thinking about the worst of the situation, let us understand the basics.

Where did this start? The main intent behind the claim rose from the IARC announcement, which claimed that smartphones are carcinogenic, especially due to the radiofrequency waves, and such. However, the claim was later proved to be false. 

Since the research published was done with limited subjects and a lot of dynamic factors at play, even the study clarified that the results might be nicked based on the limited evidence available. Since that publication, scientists have confirmed that no confirmed evidence shows that radiofrequency has carcinogenic properties.

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Now, these were claims that were made regarding smartphones. Smartwatches emit even lesser radio frequencies, which goes to show that the claims are not worth considering.

Health concerns

The next point worth considering is the common physical symptoms that many people often complain about after wearing smartwatches for prolonged periods.

Many users who have a habit of wearing smartwatches throughout the day have complained of consistent nausea and headache. They have also complained about experiencing issues with their sleeping pattern.

This is one of the reasons why it is advised to either avoid wearing the smartwatch 24×7 or keep the device’s airplane mode turned on when it isn’t in use. Studies indicate that the release of excess EMF waves from these wearables often leads to nausea and headache that many complain about.

Also, overuse of smartphones and smartwatches often leads to discomfort and sleep disturbances, which can be fixed once you stop using digital devices excessively.

What are some Side-Effects of Using Smartwatches?

Now that you have a good idea about the ups and downs related to using a smartwatch, let us walk you through the common side-effects of using a smartwatch 24×7 that many don’t pay attention to.

Side-Effects of Using Smartwatches

  • Radiation exposure – We highlighted in a previous section of the article how the impacts of smartphones on one’s physical health. The wireless signals that are transmitted through smartwatches are often harmful to one’s health.
  • Eye strain – When you overuse digital devices, it goes without saying that they have direct impacts on one’s vision, leading to strains and even issues with one’s vision. Squinting at the small display of your smartwatch can often exacerbate the damage caused to your eyes.
  • Distraction – If you have set aside your smartphone because you don’t want any distraction but have your smartwatch on your wrist, you are more than likely going to be distracted. It is bound to distract you with the constant string of notifications, thereby derailing your productivity.

Keeping these side effects in mind does come a lot in handy in the long run, so that’s something we’d recommend you pay close attention to if you don’t want things to go out of your control.

How can One use their Smartwatch Safely?

Being aware of the side effects of overusing a smartwatch isn’t enough. You need to pay close attention to the safety tips as well.

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Following are a few we’d recommend you pay close attention to:

  • Take breaks – When it comes to using a smartphone, the last thing you want is to overdo it. That’s where things take a turn for the worse. Wearing your smartwatch when you are out on a walk or when you are at work seems feasible. However, if you are wearing it throughout the day without a break, that’s where things might get worse for your health. So, take breaks wearing them.
  • Adjust brightness – Sometimes, heavy and bright exposure to the display’s brightness in your smartwatch has ill effects on your eyes. Not only does it induce eye strain, but it can also lead to pain and discomfort in the eyes. In that case, we’d suggest that you adjust the brightness and reduce it to reduce the impact of the bright light on your eyesight.
  • Manage notifications – One of the biggest issues with smartwatches is the constant string of notifications. Not only is it disturbing, but it also makes things a lot more complicated, especially when you are trying to remain productive. What we’d recommend you do in that case is manage your notifications and limit the number of notifications you receive.

Following a few of these tips should help you maximize the use of your smartwatch without any compromise at all. While it is true that wearing a smartwatch now and then isn’t harmful, it is all about how you use the smartwatch that makes all the difference. Ideally, you want to limit the amount of time you are wearing the smartwatch. That’s what makes all the difference. 

Overall, as an average consumer, using the smartwatch a few hours throughout the day is not only enough but is considered safe too. So, there’s not much you’d have to worry about.


Wearing a smartwatch with caution is safe. If you aren’t overdoing things, there’s nothing you’d have to worry about concerning wearing a smartwatch. The only thing we’d suggest is to be cautious. Avoid overwearing the smartwatch or keeping it active 24×7 on your wrist. That’s where the problems start to arise.

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