Sleep Quality is Affected by Prolonged Screen Time

Girl spending time on her smartphone.

Smartphone use before bedtime has a negative impact on sleep quality.

Based on recent research, it seems that screen time and media exposure before sleep affects sleep quality among adolescents. More precisely, scientists blame the light produced by smartphones.

In the latest study, researchers monitored a group of participants for a month, without accounting the time when the smartphones were on airplane mode. The study findings revealed that a prolonged screen time before bedtime was associated with a poor sleep quality and fewer hours of sleep.

It means that you might sleep less if instead of going straight to bed, you’d rather spend half an hour more playing or writing texts on your smartphone. According to Dr. Gregory Marcus, lead author of the study, we spend a significant amount of time on our smartphones and other mobile devices.

Poor Sleep Quality and Other Health Issues

Dr. Marcus underlines that this light exposure before bedtime increase the risk of long-term consequences as people lose the natural ability to benefit and maintain a healthy night’s sleep. This anomaly can lead to severe health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and depression.

The team noted that although the study didn’t find a cause-and-effect link between smartphone use and sleep quality, it still pointed to the fact that they might be associated. Previous studies proved that the blue light emitted by electronic devices have an adverse impact on the human brain.

Children and adolescents reported poor sleep quality and increased daytime sleepiness after using their smartphones before bedtime. Scientists explain that not just children, but adults are affected too by the media and light exposure.

Those who suffer from sleep deficiency might experience various symptoms related to emotional and physical health as well as a reduced daytime performance. According to researcher Kristen Knutson from the National Sleep Foundation, sleep quality is crucial to our well-being and health.

Doctors’ Recommendation

She adds that smartphones and other mobile devices represent a powerful technological tool which invaded our lives. Although technology is not a bad thing, we must handle it wisely. Therefore, people are recommended to reduce screen and media exposure before bedtime in order to benefit from a healthy night’s sleep.

Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., the brain produces a vital hormone, called melatonin, which is associated with sleep quality and timing. Scientists believe that light exposure before sleep reduces the melatonin levels produced by the brain.

Image Source: NPR

About Carol Harper

Carol Harper began her career as a screenwriter before turning to journalism. Before earning her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Creative Writing, Carol travelled across Europe and Asia to find both herself and inspiration. She enjoys covering health & science topics.