Digital devices are disruptive to teen sleep “If sleep were a credit card company, many [people] would be in deep trouble,” reads the opening to the Harvard Health article, Repaying Your Sleep Debt, which discusses an increasingly sleep-deprived population.
Due to factors including academic stress, present-day teen sleep habits are harmful for personal growth due to bad digital viewing habits.
In a recent report from the University of Chicago Medicine, Dr. Kristen Knutson noted that “90 percent of parents in the poll reported sleep durations below [the recom-mended 8-9] hours of sleep for teens.”
According to Knutson, “90 percent of the teenagers alone were getting less than 9 hours of sleep.”
Sleep is essential to mental and physical health. The body requires sleep to grow, re-pair, and maintain health.
Many studies prove that proper rest leads to academic success, yet many teens choose social media over sleep.
Social media use has increased by 66 per-cent in the past six years, from 90 minutes a day in 2012 to 136 minutes in 2018, accord-ing to data on Statista.com.
While some teens choose to de-stress on-line more often
due to increased stress from academics.
The same report from the University of Chicago, also found that exposure to digital screens heavily impacts sleep quality because of the unnatural amount of exposure to light.
All light is known to suppress the release of melatonin, a sleeping inducing chemical. The blue light from devices is the most effective at this job.
This is the reason why there has been an effort to reduce blue light while viewing de-vices using tools such as night mode or blue light glasses.
Light keeps the body active and a lack of it promotes sleep. As a species, that’s why people sleep at night and wake up when it’s morning. The artificial light people are ex-posed to disrupts the natural sleep cycle.
Harvard Health concluded in a separate article that overexposure to blue light before sleep from sources such as digital devices results in more difficulty falling sleep and poor sleep quality, leading to sleep deprivation.
Consequences of chronic sleep deprivation include drowsiness, impaired cognitive functions, and increased risks of health problems.
However, there are many ways to integrate a healthy sleep routine.
Digital screens should be avoided at least 30 minuets before sleep. Use that time to de-stress or do work on paper. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule will improve sleep quality as well.
The steps taken to achieve quality sleep may seem tedious, but the benefits it can bring will accumulate over time.
The consequences of lacking sleep should also be motivation for better sleeping habits.
Screens are not the only cause of chronic sleep deprivation, but are a significant factor. By putting the screens away, better sleep can be found.
As a Chinese proverb states, “The loss of one night’s sleep is followed by ten days of inconvenience.”