Social media disrupts teen sleep


If you ban electronics from your teenager’s room at night and want more proof you’ve made the right call, some scientists in Wales have your back.

In a new study, they document how using social media at night disrupts adolescent sleep and argue it is likely the biggest reason so many teenagers say they feel tired when they go to school.

Their study found that more than 20 percent of teens “almost always” wake up at night to check messages or to respond to friends, using their phones or computers for these nocturnal social media sessions.

Up to another 15 percent said they woke up at least once a week to check social media.

That’s a lot of teenagers clocking screen time in the middle of the night.

These nighttime behaviors seemed to – no surprise here – correlate closely with teenagers reporting that they are sleepy when heading to school, the study found.

From 54 % to 58 % of those who got up to check social media said “they almost always go to school feeling tired,” it said.

And that’s a problem because sleep deprivation has been associated with lower academic achievement, noted the study from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research at Cardiff University.

On the flip side, they wrote, “We find that young people who go to school less often feeling tired are, on average, happier with themselves and their school life.

“Experts have been warning for awhile that screen time disrupts children’s sleep.

The new study, which involved kids ages 11 to 15, concluded that using phones and computers in the middle of the night stamped out the other efforts parents often make when it comes to teens and sleep.

In fact, the authors write, the “potential benefits” of regular and reasonable bedtimes “appear to be entirely expunged if young people are then waking up during the night to use social media.”

But rather than force your child to leave their favourite toy out of the bedroom you can set reasonable limits on using online features via Safe Lagoon. The enhance functionality gives you many choices to schedule the access to online services and apps. Thus you can make sure your child is having sweetest dreams without being interrupted by a new comment on Facebook even if the phone stays beside the bed at night.