The truth is studies vary on their conclusions of whether screen time is linked to teenagers and insomnia. However, there is no debate that spending lots of time on phones and tablets browsing the Internet and interacting on social media does negatively impact sleep quality.
A survey conducted by The National Survey of Children’s Health (U.S.) determined that approximately 20% of kids between the ages of 14-17 spent seven or more hours looking at screens everyday. They may even be modelling their parents. Adults spend about 10 hours a day looking at screens.
How does screen time affect health?
- Mental health
Spending too much time on social media could be taking a toll on teenagers’ mental health. In adolescents who spent a great deal of time on social media, 95% displayed symptoms of depression.
One in five teens spend at least seven hours interacting on social media. A study published in Preventive Medicine Reports showed that teens who had a lot of screen time had a high rate anxiety and depression.
They also found an association with long hours of screen time leading to distractibility, difficulty making friends, less emotional stability, and difficulty finishing tasks.
Screen time has a social impact, too. Because teens are spending so much time on social media, they are not having face to face interactions with their peers.
- Teenagers and insomnia
One of the biggest disadvantages of screen time is that it might cause insomnia. Sleep is an important part of health. Teens require more sleep than adults, about 9 hours to be exact. Not getting enough sleep affects the mind and the body. The average teen gets about seven hours of sleep.
The body naturally releases melatonin to signal that it’s time to go to sleep. Electronic devices emit a blue light that can suppress the release of melatonin, causing you not to be sleepy. The blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime. You feel alert instead of sleepy. This happens with teenagers as well. The more time a teenager spends on their phone, tablet, or computer in the evening with social media or answering texts, the longer it takes for their body to release melatonin. This causes challenges with falling and staying asleep. As a result, teens don’t get enough sleep which can lead to symptoms of depression and contribute to their overall mood.
Tips to cut down screen time
Here are some tips to help your teen manage screen time:
- Establish rules about screen time like how much time and where they can use their phone or computer
- Encourage your teen to be social and have face to face interactions
- Balance their screen time with activities
- Educate your teen about media
- Keep screens out of the bedroom
Screen time might play a role in teenagers and insomnia. Constantly being on their phones or other electronic devices can keep them from getting exercise, participating in family activities, give them anxiety and cause insomnia. By using the tips above you can help your teen have a more balanced outlook on using their devices and having a healthier lifestyle.
Is your teen sleeping in a hand-me-down bed?
Instead of buying your teen the latest phone or other tech gadget, consider investing in a good quality mattress for them. Teenagers need a good quality mattress that supports their growing bodies.
Teens who sleep better are generally in better moods and get better grades – we think that’s reason enough to make the Sealy choice when it comes to choosing a bed for your young adult. When it comes to selecting the right size, don’t forget to anticipate growth spurts. Buying a mattress that’s bigger than your teen currently is will be well worth it in the long run.