09 Jul Reducing screen time before bed can improve sleep and daytime vigilance.
The ongoing war between parents and teenagers to turn the phone off and get to sleep has gained little success for the parents but a recent study has found teenagers reporting better sleep quality and daytime vigilance if they cease phone activity before bed. A recent study conducted by Perrault et al. has shown a correlation to ceasing phone activity by 9pm and an increase in both sleep quality and daytime vigilance.
A total of 569 students aged between 12 and 19 were included in the two phase study. Both phases required participants to monitor their screen usage, fill in questionnaires, and wear an actimeter (a device for monitoring activity and rest). Phase One did not enforce any screen time usage whereas Phase Two restricted screen time usage after 9pm. Vigilance and saliva samples (to detect melatonin levels) were collected at the end of each phase.
Results showed that during phase two when screen time was restricted before 9pm, overall sleep quality, sleep duration, and daytime vigilance were improved compared to phase one where no restrictions were in place. Furthermore, phase two had earlier bed times, longer total sleep time, sleep rebound was less on weekends, and participants even reported using their devices less before bed on weekends even when not instructed to.
The significance of the study demonstrates the ill effects of screen time before bed which interferes with the overall sleep quality. Furthermore, as the participants of the study were all school aged, it carries more weight in the argument of parents vs kids on stopping use of their phones before bed!
Read the full study here: https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsz125