Mobile Devices Taking Toll on Teen Sleep

TLast summer, Zintro experts shared their views about the lack of sleep among teenagers. At the time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had just released a statement that later school times would help align with natural sleep patterns that make it difficult for teens to fall asleep before 11 p.m. This month’s edition of the AAP’s journal Pediatrics includes a study about how mobile devices are contributing to the issue.

Researchers studied more than 2,048 children in elementary and middle schools and found sleeping near a screen resulted in shorter sleep duration and insufficient sleep. Sleeping near a small screen was associated with shorter weekday sleep duration and sleepiness. Children who slept with mobile devices also had later bedtimes.

In the meantime, school districts are considering AAP recommendations regarding school times. A new high school in Denver, Colorado will start classes an hour later than other district high schools when it opens in August. The district is experimenting with school start times to determine what can be done to help.

Zintro expert Toireasa Nickerson, CNCS, BA agrees that something needs to be done. She explains, “Sleep deprivation is a huge problem with our young people. [Later start times] would be a major benefit in many different ways. If our youth were granted additional morning sleep hours, their demeanors would be enhanced and grades in school would likely become much better. In general, their emotions would be lifted because they were well rested. I also think there would be fewer delinquencies observed- a complete domino effect.”

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