A research team has shown that both day and night time use of electronic devices cause an increased risk of short sleep duration, long sleep onset and increased sleep deficit.
The research, published in BMJ Open, is a collaboration of teams from the University of Bergen and the Norwegian Institute for Public Health.
Mari Hysing, the lead researcher, points out that there may be several pathways linking sleep and electronic device usage. She highlights that sleep duration could be directly affected by the consuming nature of technology.
Sleep interference may occur due to increased psycho-physiological arousal or night time usage disrupting the circadian rhythm as a result of the devices bright light.
The research was carried out on 9846 adolescents aged 16-19, who were asked about their electronic device usage. The results showed a strong relationship between usage of electronic devices and subjective sleep deficit. With two hours of device usage, the adolescents were three times more likely to have under five hours of sleep , and with four hours, they are 3.5 more likely to sleep for less than five hours.
The sleep times were considered insufficient to both the experts and the adolescents, who reported that they required a sleep duration of eight to nine hours in order to feel rested.
The researchers have suggested that recommendations for healthy media use given to parents and adolescents should be updated.
They added that age-specific guidelines should be developed “regarding the quantity and timing of electronic media use”.