The science and research behind sleep and sleep deprivation is overwhelming.
We need to change the way we think about sleep.
There is lots of different research which has been created concerning teens and the phone at night and how this can affect their patterns of sleep and how long it takes them to get to sleep.
This guide will be covering the different reasons why teens shouldn’t be going on their phone just before bed and how this can affect them.
They are very important reasons to take into consideration because it will explain how not having this as their night routines will benefit them and the other ways they can spend their time before bed which will be more advantageous.
The Harmful Blue Light
Blue light at night blocks the production of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for helping you fall asleep at night.
Blue light is the main cause of the modern epidemic of sleep disorders and the lack of it is one of the biggest contributing factors to poor health and a shorter life.
Blue light: a dark side of the smartphone. Learn how to protect your eyes and reduce screen time, and how to get the most out of your screen.
It can also cause damage to your retinas which overtime will cause more permanent problems with your vision.
It can also be damaging in the sense that it will increase your alertness during the night and you won’t be able to fall into a deep sleep.
It is also because of the different content you are consuming before you go to sleep.
If it is content that has your brain frazzled and over-working before bed, you will find it difficult to switch off properly which is why the amount of time before you sleep will increase.
We all know that teenagers love to scroll down social media and tik tok till quite late which also gets their brain going and fires them up either laughing or working something out.
This can also make them stay up later because they won’t be able to fully relax in their mind for a while.
Tired The Next Morning
After you have finally got to sleep, the waking up part might be a lot more difficult.
Due to it taking you quite a while to actually get to sleep, you will be very tired in the morning and might find yourself oversleeping or if you are a teen, getting to school late which can affect your progression in education.
Reduced REM Sleep
REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is a key part of the sleep cycle that is thought to play a key role in memory consolidation.
This article aims to explain the functions of REM sleep and potential effects it has on dreaming.
REM sleep is the part of sleep that occurs when your body is at rest and you are dreaming.
During this time, your mind is active and your muscles are relaxed but this cant happen when you are distracted in the evening and you will struggle to relax.
The guardian stated ‘’A longitudinal study of 1,101 Australian high school students aged between 13 and 16 found poor-quality sleep associated with late-night texting or calling was linked to a decline in mental health, such as depressed moods and declines in self-esteem and coping ability’’.
Mental health is another issue that teens can suffer with through lack of sleep and spending too much time on their phone before bed.
It is all because they might be given curfews, but they would still be on their phones till late just in their bedrooms.
One solution to this was not allowing phones in bedrooms and getting them an alarm clock instead.
About 80% of teens across the globe have access to mobile phones which is why this is such a massive problem.
You also need to look at the well-being of teenagers as students and how this can affect them in their everyday life when they are constantly tired and dont have the energy to do everything they might want to do.
As young people, this should not be something that is affecting them.
Teenagers and education is another important part to cover because it can affect them in their school life as well. If they are constantly tired in the classroom, they are not going to be able to concentrate as much as they should be.
This could then affect their grades and their progression throughout the years. If they did have more sleep, they could potentially have performed better in school.
Having a good amount of sleep sets you up for the day, because if you are waking up late, you are more likely to be missing breakfast as well.
Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day because it sets you up.
Therefore, if you as a teen are tired and hungry, this is one of the worst combinations there is for school.
Concentration and participation and interest will be lacking because all they are probably thinking about is sleeping.
This is also where teenagers might think that energy drinks will help with these problems or coffee when it wont.
It might give you an extra bit of energy, but it will not fix the problem.
The only way to fix this issue is to get some proper sleep at the right times.
If you find that your teens’ behavior has changed ever since they have been using their phone more often in the evening, this could also be because of a lack of sleep.
We all know that teenagers hormones are changing as they are growing up, but if they do seem to be very moody and volatile in home scenarios, this could be because of a lack of sleep.
You might want to keep an eye on how much time they are spending on their phone in the evening and come up with a solution which will benefit them by reducing screen time and switching to a good book in the evening instead of scrolling.
It can be very difficult in modern society because every teenager will usually have a phone in their hand from a much earlier age than before.
However, this needs to be reduced earlier on before they get used to this routine of using their phone.
The Guardian also stated: ‘’The outcomes of not coping – lower self-esteem, feeling moody, externalizing behaviors and less self-regulation, aggressive and delinquent behaviors – the levels increase as sleep problems increase.”.
Teenage Mental Health
All teenagers just want to fit in at that age and they all want to be the same and conform to the norms of being a ‘normal teenager’.
Therefore, when their patterns and routines are changed when it comes to their phones, they will definitely get the feeling of FOMO when they cant talk to their friends when they want or being part of conversations late into the night.
Many teenagers now use their mobiles as an escape from their everyday life as well where they can watch what they want and talk to who they want, when they want.
It is a place where their esteem can be heightened and they can be who they want.
This is why they get very volatile when told they cannot have them in the evening or at dinner. They are very attached to them.
What Can Parents Do To Help
Setting an example for their teenage children is one of the best ways to show that it is beneficial and not only for people of a teen age.
Even adults can benefit from having less screen time which will especially benefit their eye health as they get older.
Setting an example will show that it is just a house rule put in place for everyone and no one is really above it and is done for advantageous reasons.
Getting your teenagers a good alarm clock is a good idea because most teenagers will use their phone for one.
If they have an alarm clock there is no excuse to not have their phones when it is bedtime.
They can be put in a draw where they can’t be tempting or distracting and will be there when they wake up.
Another good reason to restrict teenagers having their phones at night is also about the content they might be seeing at those times, early in the morning.
They could be sharing inappropriate information which can be viewed as unhealthy interactions.
Depending on their age, there needs to be guidelines and more information given to them about the dangers that social media can have for younger individuals.
Information concerning cyberbullying is also important to talk to your children about because it is a massive issue in modern society.
When teenagers spend hours and hours on their phone, they might even be suffering from cyberbullying and it could keep them up at night.
It is important to know these problems as parents so you can help them.
Can teenagers get addicted to their mobile phones? It is all about confidence for young teens and even as you get older you will still get the same feeling.
When you get quick replies and have positive experiences on social media where people are really nice about your posts, it will give you a real boost and make you want to spend more time on there so you can keep getting that feeling.
This can become quite damaging because teens will not be spending their time doing anything else in the real world including different hobbies and physical activities.
They would rather just sit at home and live their life on their phone in this virtual reality.
It is a good idea within the home to have a bit of a detox at time to spend more time with the family and do more active activities together.
At night time a good detox is also a good idea and just spending time together instead of sitting in the bedrooms just scrolling down their phones.
Problems With Taking Teens Phones Away
You might run into some problems when you decide to take their phone off them in the evening or at times during the day or at the dinner table, but it is necessary at times.
They might get quite annoyed and frustrated like they are being treated like a child, but it is for their benefit and their health.
If the teen is living under your room, you do have the authority to restrict the time on their phone even if you do not pay for it.
If you are looking out for their best interests, it will be the right decision as long as it is fair and there is an explanation why.
Teens like to be treated as adults and the way to do this is to talk to them calmly about why you are making this decision to restrict them and show them that you are following your own rules.
There is also the difficulty of whether you should be able to take it away from them when going to school because of safety issues of them walking to and from school.
Most parents will allow them to take them to school to make sure they can get in contact with them, but it is mainly at home and when it is time for bed when there should be bigger restrictions.
You might find that some friction might occur in these situations, but it is always important to stay calm because teenagers don’t understand the health damages it can have and how they can become almost addicted to being on them.
It is important that teenagers make the most of their younger years and not cooped up indoors on their phones. They might need a bit of a push to get out of these habits.
Overall, when it comes to teenagers, you always need a calm approach when restricting them in any way because it could lead to arguments (see also “5 Peacemaking Tactics To Use On Your Teen“).
It can be concerning when your teenage child is constantly tired and moody because it can not only affect them in their everyday lives, but also in the classroom.
You don’t want them to be disadvantaged because they are spending too much time on their phone in the evening.
Educating your children about the damages it can have is the most important part because if they don’t understand why they are being restricted, then it will be volatile towards you and it can cause friction in the home.
Hopefully this guide has provided you with some helpful information about how you can help your children with their screen time before bed.
Hopefully they will be sleeping better and being more awake in the morning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should We Not Look At Our Phones At Night?
It is not good to look at your phone, it distracts your brain and it is bad for your health.
You also have the blue light from your phone which can be harmful to your eye health.
It also will restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle and will make it extremely difficult to wake up in the morning.
How Does Phone Addiction Affect Sleep?
There have been many effects such as daytime tiredness which can really affect teens in particular because of their hormones.
It can also have reduced sleep duration which is not good for anyone because you won’t be able to reach a deeper sleep.
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