“Screen Time’s Sleep Toll on Tweens and Teens”

With the beginning of a new school year comes the inescapable struggle to reestablish a good nighttime routine for children. In many situations, this probably entails readjusting restrictions on screen use, particularly in the late evenings. However, implementing and executing those standards can be more difficult said than done.
Strong correlations between sleep, mental health, and screen usage are being discovered in a growing corpus of studies among pre-adolescent adolescents between the ages of 10 and 12 known as teens and tweens. Teenagers are receiving too little sleep as a result of the unprecedented mental health crisis, which affects 42% of teenagers in the United States. Additionally, it is a vicious cycle because both insufficient sleep and the increased activity associated with using social media and playing video games right before bed can aggravate or even precipitate anxiety and sadness that calls for treatment.


Relationship between bad sleep and mental health

There is a well-established link between mental health and sleep, with bad sleep often resulting in poor mental health and vice versa. Insomnia, a disorder in which people have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or receiving restful sleep, is a typical symptom of depression and anxiety. The continuing lack of sleep makes the melancholy and anxiety that first led to the insomnia much worse.

Additionally, insufficient sleep and insomnia may reduce the therapeutic and pharmaceutical advantages. Chronic sleep deprivation worsens depression and raises the chance of suicide. According to one study, having just one hour less of sleep each week was linked to “significantly higher odds of feeling hopeless, seriously considering suicide, making an attempt at suicide, and abusing drugs.”

And what do young people do when they are unable to go asleep and are laying in bed awake, frustrated? You guessed it: they use their smartphones way too frequently. Studies conducted worldwide on more than 120,000 young people between the ages of 6 and 18 who use social media have frequently found that their sleep quality and quantity are deteriorated. Not just in the US, but all throughout the world, this is taking place.

Social media and screens’ powerful draw. Although social media has certain advantages, I think data shows that there are far more drawbacks to social media use than advantages. One reason is that perusing social media involves staying alert, which makes sleep unnecessary. Second, even with a night filter, a blue light filter, or both, the light emitted by the majority of handheld devices is still enough to lower melatonin levels, the main hormone that marks the beginning of sleep.




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