Teenagers are among the people who most often complain of sleep disorders, either because of the habit of staying up due to doing tasks, playing games, or watching videos on the internet until late at night.
This habit is actually quite dangerous because it can disrupt the circadian rhythm, the body’s natural biological clock that regulates wake, sleep, and other activities.
However, there is good news from a recent study conducted by a joint team of the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC, and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.
The study found that sleep quality in teenage can be increased by limiting screen time (time spent in front of a smartphone, tablet or computer monitor) within a week.
By limiting eye exposure to a screen that emits blue light at night, teens can sleep more deeply and reduce symptoms of fatigue, improve focus, and create a good mood.
Gadget’s Screen Time Effect on Teenage Sleep Pattern Disorders
This study was conducted by investigating the impact of exposure to blue light on adolescents in everyday life. Teens who have a screen time of more than 4 hours a day need an average of 30 minutes longer to sleep and wake up, than those who have a screen time of less than 1 hour per day.
Teenagers with high screen time also show more striking symptoms of sleep deprivation. To see the effect of limiting exposure to blue light and screen abstinance (no screen time at all) at night, the researchers conducted randomized controlled tests on sleep patterns of 25 participants in a certain period of time.
The result, both showed a positive effect where the time to sleep and wake up shifted to 20 minutes earlier than usual, and the loss of symptoms of sleep deprivation, in just one week.
“Teenagers spend a long time in front of the gadget, so complaints of sleep disorders often appear in this circle,” said Dr. Dirk Jan Stenvers, researcher from the department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Amsterdam UMC, as quoted by EurekAlert, (05/19/2019).
“Our study shows that this symptom can be reduced only by limiting screen time,” he continued.
Previously, it has long been known that exposure to light at night, especially blue light produced by the gadget screen, can affect brain performance and the production of melatonin sleep hormones, which can lead to decreased duration and quality of sleep.
The condition of this sleep disorder not only causes direct effects such as a sluggish body and lack of concentration, but can also increase the risk of serious long-term diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
At present, Stenvers and colleagues are interested in examining whether the relationship between screen time reduction and sleep quality has long-term effects, and whether the same is true for adults.
He said, sleep disorders begin with small symptoms such as fatigue and lack of concentration, but in the long run we know that sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
“If we can introduce simple measurements now to overcome this issue, we can avoid health problems that might arise in the next few years,” he concluded.