Electronics, caffeine keep teens up at night

By • Published: August 12th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Today’s teens are burning the candle at both ends… with help from caffeine and motivation from electronic communications. Sleek i-phones and sugary lattes may be staples of modern life, but a new study shows teens’ routine use of electronic devices at night and considerable caffeine consumption are damaging sleep and school habits. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, details the results of a survey administered to one-hundred teens ages twelve to eighteen.

Ninety percent of respondents said they had cell phones. Many also had other gadgets, such as TVs, computers and MP3 players, which teens often used after nine P.M.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed consumed more than an espresso’s worth of caffeine daily. Among the kids polled, tea was the most popular caffeinated beverage.

Researchers found that on school nights, only a fifth of the teenagers slept eight to ten hours, the recommended amount. The rest skidded by on less, and one-third said they feel asleep in school at least twice a day. Teens with the heaviest electronic use after nine at night reported they slept less at night and more during the day. The CDC recommends avoiding caffeinated drinks after lunch and abstaining from activities such as text messaging close to bedtime. The organization also suggests keeping distracting electronics out of bedrooms.

So, parents, if your daughter has a vice grip on her cell phone or your son can’t get enough of those energy drinks, it may be time to establish some healthier habits.