Why Texting Before Bed May Be A Dangerous Habit

Nearly 57 percent of teens text, tweet, or send messages while laying in bed, according to a new study.

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Experts recently suggested that teens should start following early bedtimes. Before you dismiss it as a habit suited only for young kids, consider that there are serious perks to being well-rested. And now, even more research suggests that putting phones away before going to sleep is essential to teens' well-being.

A new study from Seton Hall University School of Health and Medicine Sciences found that 62 percent of kids used their smartphones before bed, and it's causing less sleep, drowsiness, and poor performance in school. 

Those teens who text before bedtime tend to go to sleep later, and sleep later in the morning. Such behavior can be associated with mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Plus, once teens do receive a text, experts found, they tend to feel inclined to respond right away. Then the text conversation continues—resulting in an even later bedtime. 

The study's co-author Dr. Peter Polos says,

This leads to excessive stimulation at night. Light from electronic devices can suppress the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. All of these factors combine to make sleep difficult in the face of excessive smartphone use at night.

It's true! More screen time means less sleep time; other studies have suggested the same idea.

As for a final piece of advice, Dr. Sushanth Bhat says,

Since getting the proper amount of sleep is very important for brain development and learning in the teenage years, our study should prompt parents and guardians to consider placing reasonable limitations on adolescent smartphone usage at night.

Keep in mind that teens aren't the only ones with their phones glued to their hands! Adults can also benefit from setting a tech curfew for themselves. After all, kids learn by example!

After a certain time each night, try setting your phone on a dresser away from your bed. Not only will you not be tempted to grab it and scroll through Facebook, but you'll actually get up for your alarm ... because you have to leave your bed to shut it off! Once you master this behavior, you can inspire your teens to do the same.

Looking for more snooze-spiration? Share these 5 tips for getting a better night's sleep with the teenagers you know. You may even learn a thing or two yourself!