More Screen Time Leads to Less Sleep


We frequently post about the importance of sleep, but there's a good reason why: It's an essential part of a teen's health and well-being. Lack of sleep not only increases the risk of obesity, but also leads to poorer performance in school. According to a new study, "small screens"—or devices like iPods, smartphones, and tablets—are negatively impacting teens' sleep schedules.

Kids who sleep with a smartphone in their room or bed received 21 minutes less sleep than those who didn't. This research was discovered at the University of California Berkeley, where a study was conducted among more than 2,000 fourth grade and seventh grade students.

Out of those surveyed, 57 percent said they slept with a small screen nearby, and those same kids reported they felt like they got less sleep and felt like they needed more sleep. Teens who had larger screens in their room, like a TV, got 18 minutes less sleep, compared to those without televisions in their bedrooms. But compared to those who had small screens, those with TVs didn't feel like they needed more sleep. Overall, the main conclusion that any type of screen in a bedroom was more likely to result in less sleep.

So, the moral of this story? Don't sleep with your phone nearby, or the TV on. (This isn't only true for teens, the same applies to adults!) Another solution? Encourage your teen to set a tech curfew with these helpful tips from our blogger, Amy Lauren Smith.

For more about the importance of sleep, check out "The Teen Who Woke Up Her School." The story was featured in the September issue of Choicesa teen health, well-being, and life skills magazine.