One of the mantras from us here at SleepBetter is to control your technology use before bed, and to monitor your child’s as well. We’re not going to stop saying that, but new research says teens’ bodies may have gotten so used to screen time that it no longer bothers them in moderate amounts.
Researchers at Flinders University in Australia looked at four year’s worth of studies from around the world. Based on those studies, Flinders clinical psychologist Michael Gradisar says the overall findings show technology isn’t as harmful for adolescent sleep as many believe.
“A lot of people assume there’s a direct link; so that if teenagers use technology before bed their sleep will be effected, which is why sleep experts advise to avoid media before bed and in the bedroom, but it’s not that simple,” said Gradisar. “There’s been a series of studies done at Flinders University and other research institutions internationally which shows that technology use in the bedroom doesn’t have large effects on young people’s sleep,” he said.
Associate Professor Gradisar said technology may disrupt the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle if teenagers use devices into the early hours of the morning; however the impact of one hour of technology before bed seems insignificant. When that “screen time” pushes to two hours, it can become a problem. He said they found a small number of teens who missed school because of video game play, but it was because they stayed up too late playing the game, not because they were unable to sleep after playing.
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