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Sleep Medicine Journal: Teens Getting Less Sleep with Smartphones

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According to a study that was published by the Sleep Medicine journal, teens are getting significantly less sleep as smartphone usage increases.

The study was conducted between 2009 and 2015 with a total of 370,000 participating adolescents. The survey included a number of questions about how many hours of sleep they got.

The journal examined the results and concluded that teens are getting a lot less sleep than before smartphones came into our everyday lives. This prompts concerns about potentially serious health consequences.

Zlatan Krizan, a psychologist specializing in sleep and social behaviour at Iowa State University, told CBC News that over the six year period they found “a seismic shift in the amount of sleep that a typical teen gets.”

In a statement, Krizan said:

“The only factor that also increased during the time that could be responsible for the shortened sleep is social media, news online and the kind of activities that mobile phones are used for.”

The survey results showed that 16-17 percent more teens reported less than seven hours of sleep a night in 2015 than they were in 2009.  The researchers looked at other factors besides electronic devices that might affect the amount of sleep teens were getting, however, those activities remained stable or reduced within those 6 years.

Getting enough sleep at night is crucial, especially for teens who are growing and learning constantly. In addition to immediate effects, such as performance in school, sleep habits established in the teen years can contribute to sleep patterns and health for adulthood. These future problems can range from obesity and diabetes to depression and substance use.

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