Texting, Internet Use at Bedtime Affects Mood In Teens

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Over fifty percent of teens and children who surf the net or text message at bedtime not only have greater difficulty falling asleep, but have mood, behavior and cognitive difficulties during the daytime. This according to a study by US researchers and presented at a conference in Canada this week who additionally reported that on average, a typical teen sends over 3,400 SMS messages at bedtime each month.

This pilot study was presented at CHEST 2010, the 76th annual conference of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), by lead author Dr Peter G. Polos and his colleagues from the JFK Medical Center, in Edison, New Jersey.

Dr. Polos informed the media there that one of the most interesting data they discovered was the total number of texts and emails each young participant sent every night. On average the numbers totaled 33.5 per child.

“It is significant that these children are engaging in stimulating activity when they should be in an environment to promote sleep,” added Polos.

Researched utilized questionnaire answers from forty children and teens between 8 and 22 years old, and learned that those participants who used electronic technology to perform tasks such as texting, sending emails, surfing the internet, and playing games online at bedtime experienced both sleep-related difficulties like excessive movements, leg pain and insomnia, as well as a high rate of daytime problems. Those problems were reported to include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties.

For the STRICT (sleep time related information and communication technology) study, researchers looked into the children’s responses to a modified version of the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ).  Participants – with a mean age was 15 – were patients at the JFK Sleep Clinic between September 2009 and May 2010.

The CSHQ incorporates nineteen items and seeks responses about sleep & wake patterns, measurement of daytime sleepiness, mood and cognition. It also features questions about the type, duration and frequency of information and communication technology they used, and asked if there were any limits set by the participant’s parents.

The study’s results revealed that:
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* 77.5 per cent of the participants experienced sustained problems falling asleep.

* On average, participants were woken up once every night by an electronic device.

* On average, a participant sent 33.5 emails or texts each night while they were supposed to be sleeping; and the average number of people who texted each night was 3.7.

* Among the teenage participants, the older they were and the later they went to bed, and the more time they spent with their electronic devices at bedtime.

* Boys were more likely to surf the net and play online games, while girls were more likely to text message and make cell phone calls.

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Photo source: Wikipedia

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