As of 2012, the percentage of teenagers that own smartphones started to increase rapidly. At the same time, the number of hours of sleep they get each night has dropped dramatically. 40% of teens say that they get less than seven hours of sleep on most school nights. Sleep-deprived students can appear as though they have anxiety or clinical depression and can also have reduced academic performance. Lack of sleep among students is now a public health concern, and according to this study, cell phones and other portable computing devices are a major reason why.
Computer screens, including cell phones, emit a short wavelength light called “Blue light”. Blue light exposure has been associated with changes to circadian rhythms that affect sleep cycles. This causes lowered production of the hormone melatonin and disrupted REM (or deep) sleep. Certain newer cellphones have a “sleep mode” that changes the tone of the screen colors at a certain time, so that the blue light is reduced but it is not eliminated with this feature.
Most teenagers are actively engaged on social media or other types of entertainment while using their devices, which further keeps stimulation levels high when their minds are supposed to be winding down for the night.
These are the latest guidelines on the number of hours of sleep needed for students of various ages (from AASM )
How about having a conversation with your kids about keeping electronic devices out of their bedrooms? To begin, here are a few questions to stimulate thought:
Being proactive and having your kids participate in the solutions will help keep them engaged in the outcomes, and hopefully, lead to better rest – especially during those school nights.