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Night-texting could be affecting teen sleep

Young Man on Sofa Lit by Light from Cell Phone

Staying up late texting on smartphones could be affecting the sleep patterns of teenagers, according to new research by Rutger’s New Jersey Medical School.

The researchers noticed an increase in people using smartphones to aid sleep problems – however, they wanted to look at how texting alone could negatively impact the quality of sleep.

Study author Xue Ming explains that texting at night and sleeping late is unique in some teenagers. “When we go against that natural rhythm, students become less efficient.”

The research involved sending surveys to high schools in New Jersey, featuring a range of ages and sexes. They found that students who messaged for less than half an hour after the lights went out did better academically than those who texted for over half an hour.

Those that texted for longer periods of time had worse sleep – they tended to be sleepy throughout the day and overall slept for a shorter amount of time.

According to the study author, the “blue light” that comes off smartphone screens are amplified when the lights are out, which can make you more sleepy during the day.

“Sleep is not a luxury; it’s a biological necessity. Adolescents are not receiving the optimal amount of sleep; they should be getting 8-and-a-half hours a night.”

“Sleep deprivation is a strong argument in favor of later start times for high schools – like 9 a.m.”

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