Smartphones are keeping your children awake

Use of smartphones and social media by children leads to lack of sleep and over-exhaustion, new study says.

November 26, 2014 16:29
1 minute read.
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Apple's iPhone 6 (R) and iPhone 6 Plus.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

If your children as young as 10 years old are sleepy in school, they are probably exhausted from overdoing their use of smartphones and social media, according to a study at the University of Haifa.

“They are sleepy, have difficulty getting up and are tired during the day,” said Dr. Ofra Flint-Brettler, who led the study of youngsters and use of the social media. There is no doubt that these activities disrupt their sleep patterns. They go to bed too late because they stay awake to watch TV, don’t sleep enough and get tired quickly, she said.

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Flint-Brettler found for the first time that a workshop for parents can significantly improve the situation. Attending the short workshop resulted in their supervising sleep habits, and the youngsters slept more than half an hour longer than before. Therefore, she advised parents to intervene.

The study is based on work for her doctoral degree under the tutelage of Prof. Tamar Shohat and Prof. Orna Chichinsky.

Flint-Brettler examined children aged 10 to 12 on the basis of self-reporting questionnaires and objective studies of their sleep habits using an actigraph (a device that checks sleep patterns).

At this age, children should get eight to nine hours of sleep per night, and they should go to bed before 9 p.m. But in fact, many went to sleep after 11 p.m. and reported a poorer mood than children who went to bed earlier. Those who do not get enough sleep generally also have a more difficult time falling asleep – taking even half an hour to do this – once they are ready for bed, Flint-Brettler said.

When youngsters have a TV in their bedroom, they sleep much less than those without a personal set. Parents were found to know little about their children’s sleep habits.

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