The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, based in Sydney, conducted an online survey of 11,500 Australian teenagers, and the results shed some light on the effect electronic devices have on sleeping patterns. According to the survey, 70% of teens between the ages of 11 and 17 stated that they had two or more devices in their bedrooms at night. Of those teens, half said they used a cell phone in bed several nights a week and 39% said they used a computer in bed.

So how is this impacting these teens sleeping patterns? Dr. Nathaniel Marshall, the leader of this study, says that “Teenagers who used their computers in bed almost every night of the week were 2.5 times more likely to have a short sleep on weekdays than teens who didn’t use the devices.” While using mobile and computing devices in bed several times a week had a negative effect on sleep, infrequent use showed to be harmless.

Sleep deprivation is a major concern for today’s youth, who are already juggling rigorous school schedules, extra-curricular activities, and busy social lives. By decreasing their quality sleep time teens are setting themselves for bigger problems such as decreased alertness, depression, and cognitive impairment. So perhaps it’s time to sit our teens down and have a discussion about sleep habits. By having conversation about quality sleep now, you could be sparing them a lifetime of poor sleep patterns.

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