Parents have suspected it for years, but now they
have medical proof: the more time spent on a computer or mobile
phone, the less sleep a teen will get - especially if used just
before bedtime. 

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A study by Bergen centre for child
health has been conducted with nearly 10,000 people aged 16 to 19,
which asked teens about their sleeping patterns, how long they
looked at a screen outside of school hours and the type of gadgets
they used.

Those who took part in the research
said they needed between eight and nine hours sleep on average to
feel rested. Those with screen time of more than four hours per day
were three-and-a-half times more likely to sleep fewer than five
hours at night and were 49 percent more likely to need more than 60
minutes to fall asleep. 

It was discovered that using an
electronic device, even an hour before bedtime, badly affects both
the onset of sleep and sleep duration. In particular, teens who
used a computer or mobile phone in the last hour were 53 percent
more likely to lose out on two or more hours of sleep.

The main detrimental effects that
the use of technology had on sleep that the research found was that
the bright light and media content from devices such as tablets,
smartphones and televisions, interferes with the signals in our
brain which tell us when we need to sleep this means we prolong the
time we feel the need to stay awake. 

The evidence is so strong that
experts said, health watchdogs should overhaul guidelines for
electronic device use by youngsters. "The recommendations for
healthy media use given to parents and adolescents need updating,
and age specific guidelines regarding the quantity and timing of
electronic media use should be developed," said Mari Hysing, the
study leader.

Our resident sleep expert Dr Nerina
comments, "Winding down properly before getting in to bed is
crucial to helping you sleep better. You are more likely to access
efficient deep sleep if you allow your body and mind to relax.
Avoid checking your emails or social media accounts 90 minutes
before going to bed - put your phone, laptop and tablet away! Your
bedroom is your personal sanctuary and should be a technology free


For more sleep tips and information
visit Dr Nerina's Sleep Toolkit