Bed­time tex­ting may be haz­ardous to teens’ health

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

Many Amer­i­can teens text in bed, lead­ing to lost sleep, day­time drowsi­ness and poorer school per­for­mance, a new study says.

Re­searchers from New Jersey looked at nearly 3,200 mid­dle and high school stu­dents in the state. They found that nearly 62 per­cent of the kids used their smart­phones in some ca­pac­ity af­ter bed­time; nearly 57 per­cent texted, tweeted or mes­saged in bed; and nearly 21 per­cent awoke to texts.

“Our study con­firms that many teenagers are tex­ting late at night when they should be sleep­ing. This be­hav­ior is more com­mon among older teenagers, es­pe­cially those in high school, and among girls,” said study co-au­thor Vin­cent DeBari. He is di­rec­tor of re­search at the Se­ton Hall Univer­sity School of Health and Med­i­cal Sciences, in South Or­ange.

“One of the most wor­ri­some as­pects of our find­ings is that in ad­di­tion to af­fect­ing the qual­ity and amount of sleep teenagers are get­ting, bed­time smart­phone use seems to be hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact on their level of alert­ness dur­ing the day and on their grades in school,” DeBari said in a univer­sity news re­lease.

His study co-au­thor, Dr. Peter Po­los, added that teens whose sleep is dis­rupted by in­com­ing texts may feel com­pelled to re­spond to those texts im­me­di­ately. These ex­changes can go on for hours.

“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,” said Po­los, a mem­ber of the sleep medicine di­vi­sion of the JFK Neu­ro­science In­sti­tute in Edi­son, N.J.

The re­searchers also found that smart­phone use just be­fore or af­ter bed­time may worsen teens’ ten­dency to go to bed much later and sleep un­til late morn­ing. This be­hav­ior has been linked with de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and at­ten­tion-deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der, the study au­thors said.

Source: New York Times

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