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Cell phones and sleep incompatible for teens ... and some adults

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  • Cell phones and sleep incompatible for teens ... and some adults

    Having trouble sleeping? Could the light from your smart phone be a contributing factor? Use the "do not disturb” setting to ensure the phone doesn't light up at night. And set a time for texting to stop, well before your official bedtime, so emotions can settle before you need to sleep.

    Cell phones and sleep incompatible for teens
    Published Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 6:13PM MDT
    Last Updated Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 6:52PM MDT

    Doctors are calling it a social epidemic; exhausted kids who spend too much time texting, and not enough time sleeping.
    Sixteen-year-old Madison Breckenridge, like many teenagers, sleeps with her cell phone beside her bed. She uses it as her alarm clock, but what she didn't realize is that the device is actually ruining her sleep. “I didn't understand why when I did fall asleep, I would still feel tired when I woke up.”
    Madison’s mom says her daughter’s sleep deprivation was making it hard for the teen to cope.
    A local Sleepwatch clinic was able to track Madison’s disrupted sleep, and linked it to the light coming from her smart phone.
    There is a growing body of evidence that shows poor sleep can lead to mental health problems in teenagers.
    Dr. Valerie Kirk says that teenagers are already prone to risky behaviour and poor decision-making, and for a tired teenager the potential for trouble increases significantly.
    “It's like having a poor situation and making it worse, by having this sleep depravation on top of adolescence.” Kirk says.
    This is a generation that is electronically connected 24/7 and Dr. Kirk says parents need to step in. “There is a generation now, where their social culture is to communicate around the clock, even at the expense of sleep.”
    Madison still takes her phone to bed to use as an alarm clock, but now the "do not disturb” setting ensures the phone doesn't light up at night. “I feel more rested and happier I guess”, she says.
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

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