I think most teenagers like myself can agree that it’s harder than ever to find sleep. A tendency is to attribute this to heavy workloads. Maybe there was a test tomorrow and you crammed the night before. Maybe you have a project that you put off until last night. But perhaps the heaviest contributor to the teenage sleep deficiency epidemic is the dramatic increase in screen time.

At San Diego State University, researchers of teenage sleep deficiency have found in a survey of over 360,000 subjects that diminishing sleep time is directly correlated with increasing screen time. Jean Twenge, SDSU Professor of Psychology noticed that sleep in teenagers began to diminish just as cell phones hit the mainstream.

Researchers say in 2009, when smartphones became popular, there was a 17 percent surge in students who slept 7 hours or less each night, which is below the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.

In a survey conducted in 2015, researchers discovered that 40% of adolescents slept less than 7 hours per night. It is worth noting that correlation does not imply causation. But the study does, however, imply that being a teenager with a smartphone does put one at risk of sleep deficiency.

While these studies may not come as a surprise to many teenagers, it’s important that students are able to identify their source of fatigue. And to those who were blindsighted by this phenomenon, it this study should be a wake up call to turn off the phone and go to bed.


About Author

Lin, a senior and third-year staff member of El Estoque, currently serves as Webmaster for elestoque.org. Lin was Copy Editor and Special Report Editor in 10th and 11th grade, respectively.