Facebook at bedtime ‘is damaging teens’ grades’
TIRED of battling with teenage children about putting their mobile phones away before bed?
Take heart – for scientists say parents are right to be worried about the effects on youngsters of chatting with friends on social media before going to sleep.
A study has found teenagers who use websites such as Facebook within 30 minutes of bedtime tend to perform worse in class.
The researchers, from University College London, said this may be because it over-stimulates the brain, making it difficult to sleep afterwards. Teenagers are then less likely to get the recommended ten hours’ sleep they need to function well at school the next day.
In a survey of 16 to 19-year-olds, 70 per cent said they use social media before bed – and they achieved on average 20 per cent worse grades in GCSE and A-level exams than those who did not.
Lead author Dr Dagmara Dimitriou said it is ‘worrying’ they are not getting the sleep they need, adding: ‘Sleep is essential for processes such as memory consolidation and academic performance.’
She said that as well as the stimulation from chatting online, light from devices themselves can stop youngsters falling asleep as it can block the release of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which is triggered by darkness.
The study of 48 students from a sixth form college in London, published today in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found they got on average just seven hours of sleep on weekdays.