Teen-friendly social media usage habits to unlock pleasant evenings

A week after the American Psychological Association released a health recommendation about adolescent social media usage, the US Surgeon General did the same. Both alerts mention potential connections between teen social media use and poor sleep hygiene. What concrete steps should parents and teenagers take to improve sleep in light of these worries?n

Insights regarding screen behaviors associated with greater sleep are provided by a recent national research that was published in Sleep Health.n

According to main author Jason Nagata, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, “Getting enough sleep is crucial for teenagers because it helps their body and mind grow and develop properly.” According to our research, avoiding screens in the bedroom, turning off gadget notifications and avoid using social media before night report sleeping better. Avoid checking social media or your phone if you wake up at night.

  • Keep screens outside of the bedroom. Having a TV set or internet-connected device in the bedroom was associated with a 27% higher risk of having trouble falling or staying asleep.
  • Turn of the ringer and notifications. Leaving the phone ringer on was associated with 23% higher risk of having trouble falling or staying asleep compared to turning it off. A total of 16.9% of adolescents reported having a text message, or e-mail wake them up after they had tried to go to sleep during the past week.
  • Don’t use social media or other electronic devices before going to sleep. Using social media, chatting on the internet, playing video games, browsing the internet, and watching or streaming movies, videos, or TV shows while in bed before sleeping were all associated with trouble falling or staying asleep.
  • If you wake up during the night, don’t use your phone or engage with social media. One-fifth of adolescents reported that they used their phone or other device after waking up during the night in the past week. This was associated with a 34% higher risk of sleep troubles.

The researchers analyzed data from 10,280 preteens aged 10-14 who are part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. Data were collected from 2018 to 2020. The social media use at bedtime. Of the group, 15.5% of preteens reported at least several days of trouble falling or staying asleep in the most recent two weeks. 16.9% reported being woken up by phone calls, text messages, or emails while sleeping at least once in the most recent week. Furthermore, 20.0% reported using their phone or another device if they woke up overnight.n

“Adolescents may be hypervigilant to the sounds of phone notifications and immediately awaken to the sound of their phone,” said Nagata.n

“Adolescent development is a challenging time for many given the social pressures and physical, psychological, and emotional changes that occur,” said co-author Kyle T. Ganson, Ph.D., MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. “Understanding the centrality of social media and smartphones to this developmental process, and being present, is crucial for parents to their child.”

More information:
Jason M. Nagata et al, Bedtime screen use behaviors and sleep outcomes: Findings from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, Sleep Health (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.sleh.2023.02.005

Provided by
University of Toronto