The use of electronic devices such as the computer, the tablet or the smartphone during the day and the evening disturbs the sleep and in particular the sleep time of the teenagers.
In this research work, around 10,000 Norwegians aged between 16 and 19 answered a questionnaire and were asked to indicate the time spent in front of screens (PC, smartphone, video game console, TV, MP3 device, tablet) during day away from school and the quality and quantity of their sleep.
This study carried out over a period of 2 years showed that the use of electronic devices during the day, the evening and especially the hour just before going to bed was associated with an increased risk of putting more than 60 min to fall asleep. This risk was particularly high with the use of computer, smartphone and MP3 device (MP3 Player) during the hour just before going to bed.
In this study, almost all adolescents reported using 1 or more electronic devices during the hour before going to sleep. This study showed an interesting aspect. Using electronic devices during the day for more than 4 hours was associated with a 49% higher risk of taking more than 60 minutes to fall asleep.
A negative effect before going to bed but also during the day
In other words, it is not only the consumption of all these electronic media in the evening or just before going to bed that negatively impacts sleep, but also use during the day. This Norwegian research work also showed that teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night to feel well rested. However, teenagers who spent more than 4 hours a day on any electronic device were 3.5 times more likely to have less than 5 hours of sleep per night.
Idle time, blue light, overstimulated nervous system: the cocktail that derails sleep
The scientists noticed that the device that disturbed the teenagers’ sleep the most was the computer, also the one that was used the most at the time of the study. Another interesting and very current point, participants who used several electronic devices had a higher risk of taking longer to fall asleep and having short nights of sleep than those who used only one electronic device.
The researchers offer several reasons for these results. The first is simple and trivial, the use of these devices consumes a lot of time and mechanically reduces the sleep time of adolescents. Additionally, these devices can interfere with sleep by stimulating the central nervous system. Another point often put forward by specialists is that the (blue) light emitted by these devices can disrupt the body’s internal clock.
New recommendations, “unplug”!
For the Norwegian researchers: The recommendations are not to have a television in the child’s or adolescent’s bedroom. No computers or cell phones.
This study carried out by Uni Research Health in Bergen, Norway was published in the BMJ Open