Face­book at bed­time ‘is dam­ag­ing teens’ grades’

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Eleanor Hard­ing Ed­u­ca­tion Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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