Electronics May Be Hurting Your Teens Sleep Patterns: More from a Dentist Near Longview

Posted on: January 3, 2017

DentistGetting enough sleep is critical to your health and as a dentist near Longview, we encourage our patients to get plenty of it. One of the modern issues preventing quality sleep is constantly being on the phone. According to Canadian researchers, "Today’s adolescents sleep much less than previous generations, their sleep quality is poorer, and they report more daytime sleepiness. All of which have health and social consequences," said Jennifer O’Loughlin, a researcher at the University of Montreal.

The use of electronics, be it a smartphone, tablet or video games, is so prevalent that most teens spend hours on their electronic devices every day. To identify the impact that this had on teens and their sleep, researchers studied over 1,200 teens, aged 14 to 16. Teens were asked a variety of questions, including how much time they were spending on electronic devices and other activities like homework, playing sports, etc. They had to report when they went to bed and when they woke up both on the weekdays and weekends. After reviewing the data, researchers found that if a teen spent more than two hours a day on electronics they were likely to sleep between 11 and 17 minutes less per day than their peers.

The study further analyzed the types of electronics being used. Teens who were on the computer more than two hours per day were twice as likely to not get a full eight hours’ sleep. Those who talked on the phone for two hours a day were three times as likely to not sleep eight hours. Ironically, watching television had the opposite effect and made teens more likely to sleep eight hours.

Problems with a Lack of Sleep

There are a variety of health problems associated with not sleeping enough. Children need sleep to grow and remain in good health. If they do not get enough, they are at a greater risk for development problems, issues in school, not thinking clearly, gaining weight and even becoming depressed. If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should investigate how much time they are spending on electronics and how many hours of sleep they are getting per night. If they are sleeping less than eight hours, you should work with them to create a healthy sleep routine.

One of the ways you can do so is to ban electronics in the bedroom. This ensures that when you send the child to bed, he or she goes to bed. Otherwise, a friend could send a text, Facebook could alert them to a new comment, or their game may be calling. The temptation to reach for their phone and begin using it will be high and too high for many teens to resist. By keeping their phone in a different room, you can save them from having to make that choice.

Remember Their Oral Health

Help your child remain in good health by promoting good sleep patterns and then remember to bring them to a dentist near Longview. Our dentist office can examine and clean your teen’s teeth twice per year to ensure that they remain in excellent oral health so that something like a cavity doesn’t become an added distraction.

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