Technology is wrecking sleep for our teens

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Does it ever get really quiet in your house, you think your teen is asleep. But noooooo.

It turns out your kid has his cellphone with him in bed and he’s watching his Instagram feed or a funny new video on Vine.

As a mom, it’s so annoying!

But now, this mom has some ammunition to use against her son.

A new study found teens who bury their faces for hours in electronic screens tend to suffer bad nights of sleep. Now, as I blow into the room aghast that my son is still awake and playing on his phone I can blurt out: “Do you want to have a bad’s night sleep?”

“There are indications that today’s teenagers sleep less than previous generations,” said Mari Hysing, co-author and a psychologist at Uni Research Health in Norway told Time Magazine. “There are some aspects of electronic devices that may give an additional arousal; the [screen] light may impact sleep hormone production, and also the social communication aspect” may stir adolescents to keep chatting deep into the night.

Experts say ideally, the last hour before bed should be free of electronic devices and that use of any device in the hour before bedtime was linked to a heightened risk of taking longer than 60 minutes to get to sleep. (I’m wonder if the researcher also has a sneaky teen trying to text under the covers!)

Some of the key findings of the study:

  • If a teen’s total, daytime screen time surpassed four hours, that was associated with a 49 percent higher risk of taking longer than one hour to fall asleep.
  • Total screen viewing that exceeded two hours after school was “strongly linked” to both a longer period of tossing and turning before dreams finally came—and with shorter, nightly sleep duration.
  • Teens who used two to three devices each day were more likely to sleep for less than five hours when compared to those used just one gadget.

Here’s another eye-opener: On Monday, the National Sleep Foundation, recommended that teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 get eight to 10 hours of restorative sleep each night — a full hour longer than the group had previously suggested.

I don’t need research to tell me teens need more sleep.  In my house,  waking up a teenager is a miserable job.

So, what do you think about getting your kid to disconnect from his/her smartphone or laptop an hour before bedtime?  Doable or impossible?

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3 Comments

  1. Kerri-Anne February 4, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    My daughter’s phone and ipad are plugged in downstairs for the night at 8pm every week night (9pm on weekends). No probs since then.

    Reply
  2. momofthreegirls February 6, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    This information is interesting. I haven’t looked at the research but personally it makes sense to me. If we stimulate our brain up to the time to sleep we will not be able to fall asleep easily. As parents we can have a set time the device(s) get put up for the night. When we give the child a device at that time the rules are discussed. Such as app or site restrictions and allowed time spent on the device during the day. Even what time is the latest he/she can have the device in his/her room before putting up to charge. A set charging spot in the house might work where everyone know where the device goes at what time. We as the parents can enforce this by removing the device from the child’s possession for a period of time then try it again. After all if we give the device and we don’t approve of the use of the device then we, as a parent, can remove the device. That makes sense to me. What about you?

    Reply
  3. leslie white February 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Definitely do-able. It’s a constant reminder in our house. What our rule is, 11pm ALL electronics off. The wifi box has a programmable timer so in our house, all internet goes off at 11. You can program that for certain devices or all devices. Because some nights the temptation is SO great, the phone gets put out into the hallway. For me, this absolutely helps us all get a better nights sleep.

    Reply

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