According to a new study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, teenagers are sleeping less than they used to in favor of spending time on smartphones and tablets.
The study was led by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University. Twenge indicated that the sleep rates among teenagers began to decrease just as smartphones became more prevalent.
To complete the study, researchers looked at long-term, national surveys of more than 360,000 teenagers in grades 8-12. The surveys revealed that in 2015, 4 out of 10 teens slept less than seven hours a night. This percentage is up 58 percent from 1991, and 17 percent from 2009.
The responses revealed that the more time students spent online, the less sleep they got each night. According to experts, teens need at least nine hours of sleep per night, but light from smartphones and tablets can disrupt the body’s sleep cycle.
According to Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University and the study’s co-author, teens may find themselves falling asleep at school as their body tries to meet its sleep needs.
Professionals recommend limiting screen time to two hours each day, regardless of age, in favor of the physical and mental health benefits of getting enough sleep.