Over the years, many studies have researched the connection between mobile devices and the quality and amount of sleep. Now, a new study in JAMA Pediatrics tells us more about the relationship between the two elements and their effect on children and teenagers.
Studies versus parents
According to a poll done last year, children who sleep with their mobile devices turned on at night get one hour less of sleep compared to those who do not. And apparently, parents know this very well. They know that their kid is playing or reading on their phone after going to bed. Some are even texting friends. Still, they don’t do anything to stop this behavior. It is technology, it is evolution and they need to keep the pace. They don’t want their child to be left behind because he or she does not own a smartphone or a tablet.
Doctors are warning
But doctors are warning parents about the serious effects such a habit has on long terms. Sleep deprivation can often lead to anxiety, obesity, type 2 diabetes risk, ADHD, impaired immunity and the list goes on and on. The light coming from a screen (be it a laptop, a phone or a tablet) messes with our circadian rhythms. This is what makes us sleepy during the day and unproductive.
A strong connection between phones and sleep
The authors of this study review have searched through a wide number of studies regarding this matter, in many languages. And they have come to the conclusion that there is indeed a strong connection between the lack of sleep in children and the use of mobile devices in bed. The problem is that, most of the times during school, kids will be tired and will not pay attention to class. But the fact that this happens during the following day does not mean that the cause is the use of a mobile device in the evening. So it cannot really be determined of one cause the other.
It is only getting worse
The leader of the study thinks that things will only get worse from now on. Many schools are replacing paper school books with tablets. And this will most likely affect the children’s behavior, sleep quality and capacity to learn. Report are showing that 72 per cent of kids and 89 per cent of teenagers own at least one mobile device which they keep in their bedroom. The recommended amount of sleep for children is of nine to ten hours per night.
So parents who are concerned about their children’s sleep quality should keep phones or tablets out of their bedrooms. Of course, there is still a long way until researchers will find the exact cause of this situation. And what exactly it is in a device which causes us to sleep less. Until then, parents are encouraged to remove any mobile device from their children’s bedroom. If they don’t, they should expect poor results at school and health problems which will only become worse with age.
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