How EMFs Raise Stress, Sleeplessness, Cortisol & Inflammation

by Dr. David Minkoff April 22, 2023 7 min read

How EMFs Raise Stress, Sleeplessness, Cortisol & Inflammation

Electromagnetic Fields, or EMFs, are invisible electric and magnetic fields of force surrounding any flowing electricity or magnetic object.

They can be generated by natural things like the Earth's magnetic field or the Sun, which don’t cause us trouble.

Or they can be generated by man-made devices: cell phone towers, cell phones, microwave ovens, kitchen appliances, and even electrical wiring in our homes.

And these can cause us trouble, depending on how much or many we’re exposed to, and how strong they are.

This is because the human body has its own electrical field, and the fields of some of these devices, even the electrical wiring in our home, can overlap with our own magnetic field, causing trouble.

This can contribute to trouble sleeping, higher cortisol levels, potentially higher inflammation, brain fog, and even depression and anxiety.

But there are things we can do to minimize our exposure that make a big difference. And I have a little story that shows just how much some of this can affect us.

Let’s dive in!


The reason a cell phone, or cell tower, is called “cell” is because of its electromagnetic field.

Each tower puts out a specific-sized field. To make sure all areas are covered for cells phones, they place these towers in such a way that they will slightly overlap.

If you looked at this on a grid you would see thousands of huge circles that overlapped somewhat, like cells in the the body, all connecting up.

But just as they can overlap with each other, so too can they overlap with our body’s own electrical field.

This field is generated in our nerves, which communicate through electrical transmissions, and our muscles, and our endocrine system (the glands that produce our hormones).

The problem is, the electrical frequency of the field from a cell tower is different than the frequency in our body. And it can influence the electrical impulses in our body.

Here’s a better example:

The electrical wires in the walls of your house create electrical fields. But this electrical current is called AC (Alternating Current), as it flows first one way, then the other way, back and forth, 60 times every second.

But your body’s electrical system… doesn’t.

So when the two overlap, the field from the electrical wires, being much stronger, can influence the electrical impulses in our nervous system, and cause it to start running back and forth at the same speed. Really. (6)

This is real electricity flowing in our nerves, our brain, our heart, our muscles in a very exact way. It even goes at different speeds in different parts of our body.

What do you think the much larger field from the electrical wires does to a tiny system like that?


Chronic EMF exposure can have negative effects on the nervous system, particularly on the brain's electrical activity. (1)

And this can lead to various neurological symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.

But let’s get a bit more specific.

We have something called the Autonomic Nervous System, it’s what controls all of the parts of our body that we don’t directly control: our organs, our heart, our digestion, our breathing and even our sleep.

And it’s divided into two parts: The Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or flight, awake, action) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (relaxation, sleep, digestion, calmness).

But this nervous system runs on electrical impulses that are very exact, and EMFs can disrupt these, causing an imbalance between the two parts (1), or causing the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or Flight) to be on when it shouldn’t be.

This makes relaxing, falling asleep, or getting good sleep much harder. It increases stress. It can increase anxiety and depression.

But it does more than this. It’s been associated with increased inflammatory markers in the body (2). This, when prolonged, can lead to chronic inflammation in the body.

And when we have inflammation, as well as when our fight or flight nervous system is activated, we have cortisol production. And cortisol is the “stress hormone.” (3)

Cortisol is actually released to calm inflammation, to calm stress. But when cortisol levels are too high for too long, it can create the opposite effect, raising inflammation and stress levels.

This can lead to sleeplessness, weight gain, muscle deterioration and increased anxiety and depression.

Even more, some studies have shown that EMFs can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and helps protect the body from oxidative stress. (4)

It also disrupts the body's natural circadian rhythms, the physical and mental changes that occur in the body over a 24 hour period, mainly influenced by darkness and day time, that tell us when to wake, or relax us into sleep. (5)


I recently had it recommended to me to get the EMF levels in my bedroom checked.

Now, I should say that I wear an Oura Ring to track my sleep, HRV, and other indicators. So I know both how I feel after I sleep and what the metrics say.

So I had someone who checks EMF levels come to my house, and we went into my bedroom and he said to lie down on the bed.

He has something called a volt meter, which checks voltage, how much electricity is running.

He had me hold it, the connector, so we could see the current standing voltage in my body.

Now, the body, uninfluenced by any other sources, should measure at about .015 volts.

I was at 1.46 volts, 100 times higher than I should have been. Great.

But then he says to reach my hand toward the wall. Not to touch it, but just to put it near, about where my head is when I go to sleep.

It goes from 1.46 to 18.4. So now I’m over 1000 times more than I should be.

I took my hand away and it went back to 1.46.

I actually have a video of this, maybe I can share it in the VIP Group, as it’s just fascinating.

Anyways, he asked to see the circuit breakers for the house, and turned off the breaker for the bedroom. So now no electricity was flowing through the wires in the walls.

We went back into the bedroom and it read at .03. It’s supposed to be .015 with no EMFs, so .03 was pretty close, but look at how much lower it was than before.

It was 1.45 before, when I wasn’t near the wall, and 18.4 by the wall.

Now it was .03.

So I turned off the breaker to my bedroom that night before bed, and do you know I got more sleep, and deeper sleep?

It was amazing.

And according to my Oura Ring, my deep sleep each night since I’ve done this has improved by 45 minutes to an hour. Especially for deep sleep, which is when most of our cellular repair occurs, that’s fantastic!

But look at what was happening here. My body has a very small, very exact set of electrical impulses running at varying speeds to keep my body running as it’s supposed to.

With the EMFs from just the electrical wires in my bedroom, the electrical activity raised by over 1000 times — not my electrical activity, but the electrical activity of the wires which alternates back and forth every 60 seconds at a different speed than the electrical impulses in my nervous system.

It creates a very significant effect on our nerves.

Now, turning off your breaker every night is not only annoying, but our breakers also aren’t made to be turned on and off. It can wear them out over time, if done every night.

But they now make remote automatic shut-off’s, so you can hit a button and turn off the breaker without getting out of bed or wearing out your breaker.

You have to get it installed, but what a difference it makes.

Try this out for a few days so you can see for yourself:

An hour before sleep time, get in bed and start relaxing. Leave your phone outside and just read a good book.

Then, before it’s time to go to sleep, turn off the breaker to your bedroom.

Do this for several nights in a row and see how you do. I’ve had some others do this and they all said they had much improved sleep.


We really only scratched the surface as far as what EMFs can do to a body, including lowering or un-balancing hormones, contributing to infertility, degrading cells, and much more.

But I’ll cover those in later articles.

Right now I just want to give you a few tips to help lower EMF levels for better sleep, and a better mood during the day, which can, in itself, help to lower cortisol and inflammation levels.

Some of these these things you may want to do, or can do, and some not. But every bit helps:

  • Turn off Wi-Fi routers and take your phone out of the bedroom before sleep.
  • Turn off the electrical breaker to your bedroom before sleep and, if you can, have an automatic shut-off set up.
  • Use EMF-blocking materials such as EMF-blocking curtains, bed canopies, or shielding materials to reduce exposure while sleeping.
  • Maintain distance from EMF sources: Keep a safe distance from devices that emit EMFs, such as mobile phones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers. Use speakerphone or wired headsets when making calls to minimize exposure to the head.
  • Reduce exposure to blue light emitted from screens by limiting screen time at least an hour before bedtime. Also remove any LED lights and replace them with incandescent bulbs for yellow light, which is calming.
  • Whenever possible, use wired connections for devices like computers, televisions, and gaming consoles to reduce Wi-Fi radiation.

I hope this helps.


  1. Volkow, N. D., Tomasi, D., Wang, G. J., Vaska, P., Fowler, J. S., Telang, F., & Swanson, J. M. (2011). Effects of cell phone radiofrequency signal exposure on brain glucose metabolism. JAMA, 305(8), 808-813
  2. Johansson, O. (2009). Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields—A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment. Pathophysiology, 16(2-3), 157-177
  3. Pall, M. L. (2016). Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 75(Pt B), 43-51
  4. Halgamuge, M. N. (2017). Pineal melatonin level disruption in humans due to electromagnetic fields and ICNIRP limits. Radiation protection dosimetry, 172(4), 541-543
  5. Touitou, Y., Selmaoui, B., Lambrozo, J., & Auzeby, A. (2017). Pulsed electromagnetic fields at 7 Hz significantly inhibit melatonin synthesis and worsen human sleep quality. Journal of Sleep Research, 26, 377-380

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.