The following is excerpted from an online article posted by BYU News.
A new study from BYU found that the activities teens do before bed significantly impact the quantity of their sleep.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, found that certain activities — spending time with friends, hanging out in public places, and low-effort entertainment such as viewing social media, snacking or watching TV — reduce teens’ sleep duration when done late in the evening. However, activities that require mental or physical effort, such as doing homework, talking to parents, or playing sports in the early evening, were associated with earlier sleep times.
“If the activities adolescents are doing in the evening shift bedtimes later, they get less sleep, and that can be harmful for teenagers,” said BYU family life professor Jocelyn Wikle, a co-author of the study.
The study notes that evening entertainment not only affects the time teens get to bed, but it also impacts how quickly they fall asleep. Teens who fell asleep before the average time of 10:40 p.m. slept an average of 90 minutes longer than those who went to bed later because they were able to increase their sleep duration.
The researchers said evening routines are one of the easiest things parents can adapt to help their teens get as much sleep as possible. Establishing such habits (and getting kids to buy into them) takes time and communication, said Wikle.