Teen Cell Phone Use and Sleep

Beth Irvine Health Guide
  • In our current household of three teenagers, a common adolescent accessory is a cell phone. Their nimble fingers seem able to effortlessly tap out frequent text messages quicker than any naval Morse code.

    Sleep Study
    European researchers report that teenagers who use their phones more than 15 times a day have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep than those who use their phones sparingly. The researchers studied 21 healthy teens, aged 14 to 20, with regular working or studying hours and no sleep problems.

    Heavy and light teenage cell phone users
    Ten of the adolescents were light users, making or sending fewer than five calls and/or text messages a day. The 11 heavy users made or sent more than 15 calls and/or text messages a day. Four of them sent more than 30 text messages a day, and one sent more than 200. "Heavy cell phone users are also more likely to be stressed out and generally feel tired," says Gaby Badre, MD, PhD, of Sahlgren's Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the London Clinic, in England.

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    Study findings
    Results showed that compared with light cell phone users, teens who were heavy users:

    • Had a harder time getting up in the morning. They woke at 10:50 am, on average, vs. 8:34 a.m. for the light users.
    • Woke up more often during the night.
    • Spent more time tossing and turning before falling asleep.
    • Drank more caffeinated soft drinks.
    • Drank more alcohol.


    The bottom line

    These findings are from one small study, but more research is being produced -and in the meantime it keeps us parents aware of the implications excessive cell phone use can bring.

    See my related article
    Sleepy Teens

     

Published On: October 15, 2008