Phone, Tech Use Associated with Sleep Deprivation in Teens

Phone, Tech Use Associated with Sleep Deprivation in Teens

Does your teen need more sleep? Sleep is an important requirement for anyone’s health, and teens need a lot of sleep in order to keep up with their rapidly developing brains and bodies during this stage of their life. It can be harder than you think for teens to get as much sleep as they need. Today’s teens have busy schedules and a lot of different things that may be on their minds. And there’s something else that might be causing sleep deprivation for your teen – their smartphone. 

How Smartphones Disrupt Sleep

 Is your teen getting enough sleep when they bring their smartphone to bed?

Some of the things that make smartphone use so absorbing in the daytime are the same things that help keep teens up at night. Apps are designed specifically to be absorbing and to keep users coming back for more. 

For example, app makers know about how long their users typically spend on a sight, and will sometimes program an app to withhold notifications until right before a user would exit the site, which is a way of ensuring that they stay on the site longer. Or consider streaming services that often simply auto-play the next video by default, which can keep users binging content for longer than if they had to make a choice to start the next episode. 

Notification sounds, or even the vibration motion of a smartphone with the sound turned off, can also wake teens up and prompt them to “just check” their notifications, and often “just checking” can turn into something more. And the blue light from smartphones and other electronic devices is also known to have an effect on sleep. 

What Happens When Teens Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

If your teen is struggling with smartphone use at night, it may lead to a variety of problems during the day. 

Lack of sleep can be detrimental to teens in a number of different ways. Teens who don’t get enough sleep may find themselves struggling to focus and pay attention in school, which can cause their grades to suffer. 

Sleep deprivation can contribute to depression and other mental health problems. Your teen may also be more likely to catch colds and develop other illnesses, as lack of sleep can negatively impact their immune systems. 

How to Help Your Teen Get More Sleep

Even if your teen demonstrates restraint with their phone use during the day, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t disrupting their sleep at night. It’s generally a good idea to limit phone use at night time, and have your teen leave their phone in a different room before they go to bed. This is a good idea for parents too! For one thing, it sets a good example. For another thing, adults aren’t immune to the kind of sleep deprivation caused by using smartphones or other electronics at night. 

It’s possible that your teen may try to use their phone after bedtime anyway. Smartphones and their apps can be addictive, and even if your teen knows that they shouldn’t be up using their phones, they may be tempted. Using parental monitoring software can help you keep an eye on when and how your teen is using their phone, which can help you hold them accountable. 

To find out more about how parental monitoring software can work in your family, get our free trial.