Nighttime Cell Phone Use Robs Teens of Sleep
A large study conducted in Australia suggests that teens who use their cell phones in bed at night are at increased risk for sleep and mental health problems. The study, which involved 1,101 young people between ages 13 and 16, also showed a link between nighttime cell phone use and higher rates of depressed mood, low self-esteem, and reduced coping skills. The study, which was conducted from 2010 to 2013, through four years of high school, is the first to establish a link between unrestricted cell phone use, sleep deprivation, and mental health issues in teens.
Lead author Lynette Vernon of Murdoch University in Perth, l recommends curfews for cell phone use and “physical boundaries”—removing phones from teenagers’ rooms at night.
Cell phones disrupt sleep in a number of ways, she says. Light from the screen interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, and social interaction and communication before sleep increases “cognitive and emotional arousal.”