I thought teenagers were champion sleepers, but according to a study in the journal Pediatrics, technology is keeping today's teens wide awake, and making them less healthy as a result.
Teenagers need about nine hours of sleep a night, and a new study says teens are averaging between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep a night resulting in daytime exhaustion, obesity, and even depression.
What's to blame? Technology. And lots of it.
One night last week, Ryan Cassidy, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, began playing Xbox at 10:30 p.m., using two-minute breaks within the game to play another game on his cell phone. After two hours, he moved to his laptop, on which he watched a TV program and checked his Facebook page during commercials.
Cassidy eventually decided to go to sleep at 2 a.m.
In addition to the distraction factor and substituting media for sleep, other elements to the tech problem include teens not getting enough exercise because they're behind their laptops, on their phones, and planted in front of consoles. Even the bright lights of the screens could be tricking teen bodies into thinking it's daylight and not secreting melatonin, a chemical needed for restful sleep.
All of which is to say, turn off the screens so the kids can get some rest. Have a cut-off, say 9 p.m., and stick to it. Keep computers in the common areas and confiscate phones, if necessary, at bedtime.
We might have only had television and land lines when we were teens, but the same rules still apply. Monitor your kid's activities and get them outside for a healthy balance.
Do you let your kids live online without your supervision? Is it hurting their sleep?
Image via SashaW/Flickr