Latest News » For teens, too much screen time during the day can hamper sleep at night

Too much screen time can have a negative impact on the quality and amount of sleep that teens get.

Too much screen time can have a negative impact on the quality and amount of sleep that teens get.

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, video game handhelds — electronic devices are an omnipresent fact of life nowadays, particularly among teenagers. Previous research studies have pointed to how stimulation from these devices late at night can make it harder for people to fall asleep. Now, new findings highlight how excessive screen time throughout the day, let alone just at night, can hamper the amount and quality of sleep that people, in particular teens, can get.

A study of 10,000 16- to 19-year-old Norwegian teenagers  found that using any electronic device — whether a smartphone, television, MP3 player, computer, tablet or video game console — for over four hours at any time during the day, and within an hour of bedtime, created a 49 percent risk of taking 60 minutes or longer to fall asleep. The researchers additionally found that teens who were exposed to over two hours of screen time after school were also more likely to take longer to fall asleep and get less sleep overall.

The number of devices used also play a part in determining sleep patterns. Teens that used two or three devices exhibited a 50 percent risk of sleeping less than five hours, while those who used four or more devices throughout the day had a 75 percent chance of getting under five hours of sleep.

"The current recommendation is not to have a TV in the bedroom," the researchers wrote in their official report. "It seems, however, that there may be other electronic devices exerting the same negative influence on sleep, such as PCs and mobile phones. The results confirm recommendations for restricting media use in general."

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