*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Parent Herald.
Teenagers who are attached to their phones are most likely to stay up late into the night texting. As a result, they lose sleep and end up struggling at school the following day.
“We need to be aware that teenagers are using electronic devices excessively and have a unique psychology,” Dr. Xue Ming said from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. The use of media among children has increased exponentially, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as cited by Daily Mail. Studies have even revealed that children age eight to 18 use electronic devices for almost eight hours a day.
Dr. Xue explains that when students go against the natural rhythm of sleeping, they become less efficient. He cites that the study, which was published in the Journal of Child Neurology, focuses specifically on instant messaging. “I wanted to isolate how messaging alone – especially after the lights are out – contributes to sleep-related problems and academic performance,” Dr. Xue said.
The study evaluated 1,537 respondents from three New Jersey-based schools. Results show that students who turned their devices off for less than 30 minutes after the lights went outperformed slightly better in school. Those who texted longer in the dark, on the other hand, slept fewer hours and were exhausted the next day in school.
Dr. Xue explains that the ‘blue light’ emitted by smartphones are intensified when viewed in a dark room. The light can consequently have an impact on daytime sleepiness symptoms which delays melatonin making it more difficult to sleep.
The study also explains that when lights are turned off, our brain should make the gradual transition from wakefulness to sleep. Alerts and light emission from text message can disrupt the circadian rhythm. Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the period during sleep that is most important to develop learning, memory consolidation and social adjustment in adolescents.