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National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Health Journal Article Highlights Relationship Between Bedtime Media Use and Adolescent Sleep Health and Attentional Issues

Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2021): Latest research findings published in the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep Health Journal provide additional evidence of the negative effects of bedtime media use on adolescents, including the degradation of subsequent sleep and issues with attentional control during the day.  Researchers also found that short sleep and daytime sleepiness increased bedtime media use.

Bedtime Media Use and Sleep: Evidence for Bidirectional Effects and Associations with Attention Control in Adolescents (Leonard, Khurana, and Hammond) analyzed longitudinal data collected six months apart from middle-school students in the Pacific Northwest to test bidirectional pathways between bedtime media use and sleep variables (time in bed, sleep onset latency, and daytime sleepiness). The researchers also evaluated whether sleep variables and rates of bedtime media use were associated with participants’ attention control difficulties.

“We found that adolescents who used screen media in the hour before going to sleep had lower sleep quantity and sleep quality, due to less time in bed and more difficulty falling asleep, which in turn was associated with greater daytime sleepiness,” said Heather Leonard, MEd. “Additionally, adolescents who reported less time in bed and more daytime sleepiness reported greater bedtime media use over time. These bidirectional associations between bedtime media use and sleep problems create a vicious cycle that promotes more bedtime media use with adverse effects on sleep and attentional focus,” added Leonard.

"Use of interactive screen-based devices before or in bed are consistently associated with delayed sleep onset and shorter sleep duration. The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime," said Dr. Lauren Hale, Vice Chair of the National Sleep Foundation and Professor at Stony Brook University.

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About the National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice.