Should Your Teen Turn Off Her Cell at Bedtime?

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to a body that functions properly and feels good. Not only does sleep aid in mood and stress control, it also helps with learning, memory, and processing. And for those who aren’t quite done growing yet, a good night’s sleep is crucial to making sure that muscle and bone both grow and repair adequately.

While adults may only need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, teens require at least 9.25 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, too many teens don’t get a good night’s rest because their cell phones are buzzing throughout the night, keeping them from falling asleep. Read on to learn why you should require that your teen turn his or her cell off at bedtime.

Student with Tablet

Teen Sleep Deprivation

Teen sleep deprivation from staying awake during the night to take a call or not getting off the smartphone early enough to fall asleep can result in memory deficits, impaired performance and alertness, irritability, anxiety, reduced concentration and creativity, and depression. Additionally, the loss of REM sleep, or intense sleep, can be physically harmful to a teen’s body.

The pressure put on teen’s by their peers (and their cell phones) to “be available” at all hours of the night also creates anxiety and tension within a teenage mind, convincing the teen that the phone must always be under the pillow, just in case. Texting is an instant form of emotional gratification.

Neuro-imaging has shown that texting floods the pleasure center of the brain, the same area that lights up when using heroin. The addictive potential is obvious. Texting as an addiction and going to sleep with your phone can seriously jeopardize sleep.

The Effects of Artificial Cell-Phone Light

The light that’s emitted from electronic devices like laptops, cell phones, and tablets can seriously mess with our sleep cycles. The light is harsh, and usually shines right into our eyes until the moment we fall asleep. Unfortunately, these gadgets can fool our brains into thinking it’s daytime, exacerbating sleep disorders such as insomnia and disturbing sleep patterns. When the brain is hit with a strong form of artificial light, it fools the brain into thinking that it’s daytime.

As a result, the brain ceases the production of melatonin, which is the chemical that makes us sleepy. Which means that if your teen is like most teens, not only is he or she potentially answering texts in the middle of the night (which both wake him or her up and disturb the brain’s production of melatonin) he or she is probably also using the phone in bed before falling asleep, making it even harder to get a good night’s rest.
How to Ensure a Full Night’s Sleep

Make sleep a priority in your family and in your teen’s life. Outline the benefits of a full night’s rest, and plan for how it can be accomplished. Set a bedtime that will give your teen a full 9.25 hours window of sleep possibility. If your teen naps, make sure the naps aren’t too long or too close to bedtime, and try to avoid any caffeine, exercise, and TV before going to bed. As for the cell phone, make sure it’s turned off well before bedtime.

This article was written by Ashlyn Cooper, a mommy of three.  She is excited to share DIY and parenting tips to help other parents navigate mommyhood.  If you are having trouble sleeping find relief with a home sleep study.