Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Night-time Screen Use and Sleep

Any child or teen who has access to an iPad, tablet, or smart phone seems to have it glued to their hand, giving it up reluctantly only when parents or teachers insist. 

We often recommend e-books for the students we see hear at The Yellin Center who have difficulty with printed material. They are great ways to allow students to access material they might not be able to read on their own and to keep up with both class content and the latest popular book series that their friends might be discussing. However, our recommendation is always accompanied by a reminder that using an e-reader before bedtime can affect sleep.

A newly released study (this open access study shows up as an abstract, but the full text is available from this link as a free download) which looked at data from over 6600 11 to 12-year-olds from in and around London who reported any use of Screen Based Media Devices (SBMD - mobile phone, tablet, laptop, television etc) supports our cautionary recommendation.

The goal of the researchers was to look at the impact of SBMD in both dark and artificially lit rooms and to determine whether and how such use affected sleep and what scientists call "health-related quality of life" (HRQOL). Scientists found that the subjects "... who used mobile phones or watched television at night-time with the light on in the room experienced worse sleep outcomes than adolescents who did not use these devices at night-time. However, the effects were even greater when device use occurred in darkness." In addition, any kind of night-time use of even one SBMD was "... associated with poor sleep quality on all dimensions including experiencing difficulty falling asleep."

These findings may provide the push needed to get teens to put away their devices at bedtime -- and, hopefully, can influence their parents as well. Sleep well!

No comments:

Post a Comment