Technology Affects Teens’ Sleep

Posted on May 11, 2017 by

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While it is important to sleep every night, many people, especially children and teens, don’t get enough sleep. Part of the reason for this is the extensive use of technology–smartphones, tablets, Nintendo Switches® , etc., right before bed, which can affect sleep habits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, widespread sleep loss is a major public health problem. They suggest that anyone under eighteen needs at least nine hours every night, with younger children needing a little more. However, only 31% of high school students surveyed in a 2009 C.D.C. study reported getting at least eight hours a night.

Using a phone or tablet before bed can affect the user in a variety of ways. For example, (according to sleep.org) the light emitted by screens inhibits the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep patterns. Using technology also stimulates the brain, tricking it into thinking it needs to stay awake.

The problem also goes beyond just the amount of sleep. The same components that cause sleep deprivation also can contribute to a worsened quality of sleep, causing people to wake up tired or anxious.  Sleep.org also states that 95% of people surveyed use some form of technology right before going to bed, meaning this is not just an isolated issue.

There are some basic tips for turning off before bed. Sleep.org recommends turning off all phones, computers, and tablets at least thirty minutes before going to sleep to allow the body the time it needs to wind down. Making sure devices aren’t around at night also keeps from being distracted by text and email notifications.