A new study of sleep-deprived teenagers has found evidence to suggest that young adults are getting less sleep, or experiencing lower quality sleep because of smart-device usage. The study published in the journal Sleep Medicine analyzed data collected in two surveys of American youth that were conducted between 2009 and 2015. 370,000 teens participated, and their responses showed that there was a large shift in the amount of sleep adolescents were getting once smartphones became commonplace.
The National Sleep Foundation (a U.S. based institution) recommends that teenagers get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. The findings of this study show that around 16-17% of teens were more likely to report getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night in 2015 than they were in 2009. Researchers also accounted for other factors that could be affecting the sleep schedule of young adults, such as homework, watching TV or having a job after school. They found that in most cases, hours spent on these activities remained constant over the examined period. Zlatan Krizan, a psychology and sleep expert at Iowa State University, says, “The only factor that also increased during the time that could be responsible for the shortened sleep is social media, news online and the types of activities that smartphones are used for.”
Portable media devices such as smartphones and laptops are so detrimental to sleep and sleeping schedules due to their stimulation of brain activity. Using these devices directly before hitting the hay makes it more difficult for your brain to relax and shut down. To help your teens get on a better sleeping schedule, consider keeping cellphones and other devices out of the bedroom. Instead, encourage teens to replace their devices with novels that interest them.