American teens are getting far less kip they’re supposed to, and a new study points the finger of blame at electronic gadgets in bedrooms.
Boffins say adolescents should get nine hours of sleep a night, but a survey by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 45 percent of middle and high school students were recording less than eight hours on a school night, with more than a quarter nodding off during lessons at least once a week.
Jodi A. Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children’s said that computers, mobile phones, televisions, video games and other gadgets were all playing a part in keeping kids away from their slumbers.
“Those with four or more electronic devices in their bedroom were twice as likely to fall asleep in school,” she said.
The “Sleep in America” poll – which polled around 1,600 youths aged 11-17 and their caregivers – found that technological distractions were preventing kids from winding down and relaxing at the end of the day.
Back when we were kids (cue: Hovis music), we only had the option of listening to the radio or reading a book come bedtime, but American kids now have bedrooms positively buzzing with technological distractions.
The survey found that in the hour before bedtime kids would be kept wide awake watching television (76 percent), surfing the web/sending instant-messages (44 percent) or chatting on the phone (40 percent).
“Many teens have a technological playground in their bedrooms that offers a variety of ways to stay stimulated and delay sleep,” commented Mary Carskadon, director of the E.P. Bradley Hospital Sleep and Chronobiology Research Lab at Brown University.
“Ramping down from the day’s activities with a warm bath and a good book are much better ways to transition to bedtime,” she advised, adding that firmly upheld bed/wake times and TV-free bedrooms would all help kids get the kip the need.
Personally, we can’t imagine having a bedroom that wasn’t stuffed full of gadgets and gizmos but then we’re all, err, grown up. And tired.