For teenagers, sleep plays a critical role in staying healthy, feeling happy, and maintaining good grades. But sleep doesn’t come easily for some teens. An increased amount of screen time throughout the day has been linked to insomnia and symptoms of depression in adolescents.
The Blue Light Effect
Electronics emit an artificial blue light that can suppress the release of the body’s sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. In turn, this can interfere with the body’s internal clock that signals when it’s time to sleep and wake up. They may experience problems falling asleep as well as difficulty staying asleep. As a result, these teens sleep fewer overall hours; over time, that sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms of depression.
Getting Back on Track
Limiting overall daily screen time can help improve sleep issues, but most importantly, restricting use right before bed can play a key role in helping teens fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. Consider setting a digital curfew one to two hours before bedtime (the earlier, the better).
There are many benefits to today’s tech-driven world: Access to more information, the ability to connect with others in an emergency, and a chance to make friends with new people in new places. Managing the amount of time adolescents spend plugged into their electronic devices helps give them the benefits without as many drawbacks, especially when it comes to sleep.