Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wired: Technology, Caffeine Keeping Teens Awake at Night

Technology-savvy teens can excel at multi-tasking. They can send text messages, surf the Internet and watch their favorite TV show all at the same time.

But a
new study shows that technology may be taking a toll on their sleep. Many teens are staying up too late and consuming too much caffeine. As a result, they’re not getting enough sleep to remain alert during the day.

The study involved students between the ages of 12 and 18 years. They reported how much time after 9 p.m. they use various technological devices.

reports that watching TV was the most common activity; 82 percent of participants watched TV after 9 p.m. Fifty-five percent reported being online; 44 percent reported talking on the phone; and 42 percent reported listening to an MP3 player. Other common activities were watching movies, text messaging and playing computer games.

Multi-tasking was high; teens used an average of four technological devices after 9 p.m. Teens who did more multi-tasking tended to drink more caffeine.

Only 20 percent of participants got eight to 10 hours of sleep per night; these teens tended to do less multi-tasking after 9 p.m.

Thirty-three percent of teens reported falling asleep in school. Students who fell asleep in class consumed 76 percent more caffeine.

The AASM reports that most teens need a little more than nine hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested during the day. But a shift in the timing of their body clock causes teens to feel sleepy later at night. This explains why it can be hard for them to fall asleep before 10 p.m.

The AASM recommends that parents keep the TV and computer out of their teen’s bedroom. Parents also should set a “communication curfew” at night; set a time after which your teen can no longer talk on the phone or send text messages, instant messages or e-mails.

Learn more about teens and sleep loss on Parents can get more tips for teen bed times.

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