Teen Sleep and Electronics

Too much screen time leads to exhausted teens. Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Too much screen time leads to exhausted teens.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

As you’ve probably already suspected, if your teenager is on a tablet, smartphone, game console, watching TV, etc., they are not sleeping as much.

 

There are several suspected reasons for this.  Here’s a short article explaining a recent study that proved this to be true: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/screen-time-means-sleep-teens-doctors-find-article-1.2101998

 

I’d like to add one theory to the reason teens who use electronics for at least a few hours per day are not sleeping enough.  I believe they are substantially more sedentary than generations past.  Movement and activity makes you more physically tired, which makes it easier to sleep.

 

So, parents now you have an excuse to police your children’s use of electronics.  It’s truly unhealthy for them to use electronics for more than a couple hours per day.  If your adolescent sleeps about 9 hours, they will have better immunity, learn more easily, are less prone to depression, will be nicer to you, have more friends, and have more energy.  Maybe this is why so many parents tell me their teen became much nicer after being grounded from their phone for a couple days.

 

Anyhow, I’m not against electronics.  I use a smart phone, I’m typing this blog on a laptop, and I watch TV sometimes.  However, like all things, moderation is key.  Your teens needs to sleep about 9 hours per night.  Do you think they could sleep more if they didn’t use their phones as much?  I bet you’re right.

 

Helping teens grow and families improve connection,

Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

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