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Teens are losing sleep due to smartphones and social media

A recent survey from the University of Michigan has revealed that sleep issues among adolescents can often be attributed to the use of social media and smartphones. More than half of the parents of restless teens directly blamed electronics for their sleep disruption.

According to the data from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, forty-three percent of parents report that their teen has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Of these parents, 25 percent say their child experiences occasional sleep problems on one to two nights per week, while 18 percent say that their teen struggles with sleep on three or more nights per week.

The use of cell phones and social media was found to be the number one most frequently reported factor that is disrupting sleep among young people. Homework and other school activities is the second most common contributor to sleep deprivation in teens, while concern over their social lives is the third largest contributor.

In addition, ten percent of parents say their child’s sleep problems are related to a health condition or medication. This cause was reported more often by parents of teens who have frequent sleep problems.

“This poll suggests that sleep problems are common among teens and parents believe late-night use of electronics are a main contributor,” said poll co-director Sarah Clark. “Teens’ hectic schedules and homework load, as well as anxiety about school performance and peer relationships, also are seen by parents as contributing to sleep problems.”

The respondents shared different strategies they have used to address these sleep issues, including limiting caffeine in the evening, turning off electronics and cell phones at bedtime, and natural or herbal remedies such as melatonin. Over 25 percent of the parents said that their teen has tried some type of medication to get better sleep.

“Parents whose teens continue to have frequent sleep problems, despite following recommendations for healthy sleep hygiene, may want to talk with a health care provider, particularly when considering which type of medication to try,” said Clark.

“Inadequate or disrupted sleep can have long-lasting health effects that go beyond moodiness and irritability for teens.”

“Sleep-deprived teens may have difficulty concentrating in school and those who drive have an increased risk of auto accidents. Inadequate sleep has also been linked to health problems ranging from obesity to depression.”

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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