Cell phones and other Electronic Media Damaging Teen Sleep Patterns and Health

A new study adds support to the already controversial issue of teenagers using cell phones. The current study warns that cell phones have a highly negative impact on the sleep patterns of teenagers.

The study says that adolescents have very poor sleep compared to the previous generations. They end up waking up more at night, feel tired during the day, and aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep that is required by the human body.

The current research was conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Montreal. The results make sense owing to the fact that the current generation is very dependent on social media. The sleeping patterns of teenagers become worse the more they texted, spoke on cell phones, and used social media before going to bed.

The current results need to be taken into consideration especially after the recent American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that were released about the amount of screen time kids should be allowed to experience. The results of the current study state that even two hours of being online, talking on the phone and texting gave rise to higher risk of not getting the optimum 8 hours of sleep.

Girls texting

Jennifer O’Loughlin, the author of the current paper, published in the journal Sleep Health, said that while the results are a cause of concern, electronic media is becoming a large part in every teenager’s life. A lot of teens use electronic media before going to bed.

Data from a Montreal-based study, consisting of high school students, was used for conducting the current research. The team of researchers focused on the link present between the amount of sleep and the use of phones, TVs, and video games.

The questionnaire was completed by students, aged 14-16, between 2008 and 2009. More than a total of 1,200 students participated. The questionnaire was for reporting the teen’s use of electronics, which included watching TV, as well as doing sedentary activities such as homework, reading, talking on the phone, etc. The teenage participants also reported the usual time they went to sleep and woke up during weekdays as well as weekends.

The results showed teens spending more than 2 hours a day playing video games and using computers slept 11-17 minutes less compared to kids who spent less time in front of such media. About one in every three teens had twice the chance to sleep for less than 8 hours owing to the fact that their computer usage was more than 2 hours.

Teenagers who talked for at least two hours per day on the phone were at a three time higher risk of not getting eight hours of recommended sleep. Teenagers who watched TV for 2 hours or more per day were only half as likely to experience less sleep than 8 hours when compared to other teens.


Teen participants that talked on the phone or used computers for more than 2 hours per day reported feeling more sleepy during the day when compared to teens who didn’t spent as much time using such electronic devises.

No report of less sleep was observed in teenagers who read or did other sedentary activities that didn’t make use of electronic screens.

According to Christina Calamaro, a research director, young kids need proper sleep to grow. Not getting enough sleep also increased the risks of depression, weight gain, and having problems with attention and thinking. Parents are advised to implement standards that promote healthy sleep patterns.

The lead researcher of the current study recommends that parents should monitor the amount of screen time their children get. They should also talk to their kids about the negative effects of too much screen time, and the importance of proper sleep.

Category: News

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Article by: Douglas Norman

Douglas writes all the latest health news for BodyFatLoss. He is very diligent about finding all the facts and sources of any new health and fitness findings.