We use cellphones to check the news, the weather, our social media feeds, and even to watch movies. This constant use makes us attached to these little devices. Kids and teens are especially prone to stay on their phones to keep up with their peers. The more time we spend with screens, the more important it is to ask: do smartphones hurt sleep?
Cell Phones Suppress Melatonin
Melatonin is the natural hormone your brain creates to control your sleep cycles. Your body clock and the light you’re exposed to determines how much melatonin your brain will make. The darker it gets the more your melatonin levels will rise. Cell phones, however, emit blue light, which negatively affects sleep. The light tells your brain that it’s morning, which reduces your melatonin levels. Those reduced levels lead to sleepless nights for your teen.
Cell Phones Wake You Up
With constant notifications from social media and text messages, you don’t have to be using your cell phone to not get any sleep. Most teens sleep with their cell phones in or near the bed. This need to be available and up-to-date in the social media world causes teens to wake up with even the smallest of buzzes.
Sleep is Necessary for Mental Health
Teens already stay up late with school work, extracurriculars and part-time jobs. Although they don’t have as many time commitments during the summer, teens still need eight to nine hours a night to sleep. The negative side effects cell phones have on sleep prohibit that. Without enough sleep, they’re more prone to develop depression and anxiety. These mood disorders can lead to poor performance in school, substance abuse and even suicidal thoughts.
To make sure your teen is getting enough sleep at night, consider giving their phone a bedtime. The digital detox before bed will ensure they get enough uninterrupted sleep to be healthy and happy.
Text by Kendal Harris