One App Is Especially Bad for Teens’ Sleep
The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
Many teens look at screens at bedtime, but some apps are more likely to keep them awake than others, leading to sleep problems.
That’s the upshot of a new study in which researchers found YouTube fans experienced consistent and negative effects on sleep. Surprisingly, traditional TV was associated with earlier bedtimes.
“We’ve been seeing teenagers who have sleep problems in our clinic,” said co-author Michael Gradisar, head of sleep science at Sleep Cycle in Adelaide, Australia. “A lot of them have tried refraining from using technology, and clearly that hasn’t worked for them. Many of them mentioned that they would watch YouTube as they try to fall asleep. They find it entertaining without it being overly stimulating.”
While many studies have been done on devices, little research has looked at the effects of specific apps on sleep, he said.
“We wanted to learn if there were specific apps that people should avoid, so that they could continue using their devices in a healthy way that didn’t affect sleep,” Gradisar said.
For the study, the researchers asked more than 700 12- to 18-year-olds how much time they spent using technology. That included mobile phones, gaming consoles, and TV, as well as apps before going to bed and in bed before falling sleeping.
While the study looked at the streaming service Netflix as well as YouTube, YouTube was the only app consistently and negatively related to sleep outcomes, researchers said.
For every 15 minutes teens spent watching YouTube, they had a 24% greater chance of getting fewer than seven hours of shuteye. Watching YouTube and using gaming consoles were both associated with greater odds of getting insufficient sleep.
Contrary to the classic advice to keep the TV out of the bedroom, traditional TV was associated with earlier bedtimes.
Gradisar said that might be because teens don’t interact with a TV in the same way they do with a phone. Instead, they just sit back and watch.
The findings appear in the December issue of the journal Sleep Medicine.