Are Your Teens’ Electronics Damaging Their Sleep?

In a recent study published in BMJ, researchers in Norway studied the time spent using electronic devices and the sleeping patterns of 9846 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19. In the study, they looked at how both daytime screen use and the use of electronic devices before bedtime impacted their sleep.

They discovered that the longer that the adolescents spent on their electronic devices, the longer it took them to fall asleep, the more difficulty they had staying asleep and the less sleep time they had in total.

Some might argue that the teens with more screen time had less sleep because they likely stayed up late playing on their electronics. However, the researchers found the same trend in those who used their electronics during the day.

To help explain this effect, the researchers offered that:

“Media use may directly affect sleep by replacing it due to its time consuming nature, or may interfere with sleep through increased psychophysiological arousal. Alternatively, the bright light exposure inherent in most electronic media devices may interfere with sleep by delaying the circadian rhythm when exposure takes place in the evening and/or by causing an immediate activation in itself.”

These explanations sound reasonable, but we must also remember that electronic devices give off radiation that is harmful to the body. Other studies (see suggested reading below) have also found that exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) and radiofrequency (RF) radiation reduces sleep length and quality and can affect the pineal gland’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep.

Sleep is so incredibly vital to our children’s health and wellness- especially since they are growing and changing so much every day. As much as our kids want to be “plugged in” to this technology-laden world in which we live, it is so important for us to limit their screen time to more healthy levels. Experts say that even one hour can have negative effects!


Also see:

“The Effects of 884 MHz GSM Wireless Communication Signals on Self-reported Symptoms and Sleep — An Experimental Provocation Study”

“Evidence for an effect of ELF electromagnetic fields on human pineal gland function” 

Become a Wellness Champion Blog: Learn How to Use your iPad Safely



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