November 9th, 2020

Continuing with the screen time theme, let's look at a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Dr. Charmaraman and colleagues looked into the effects of screen time use and sleep.

The results were expected and straightforward. They noted: "Quantity of social technology use (e.g., checking social media, problematic internet behaviors, mobile use), content viewed (e.g., emotional or violent videos, risky behaviors), and social context (e.g., bedtime behaviors, starting social media at an early age) were significantly related to later bedtimes and fewer hours of sleep on school nights.

Parental rules restricting mobile phone and online use before bed and obtaining a smartphone at a later age were associated with increased sleep time and earlier bedtime." (Charmaraman et. al. 2020)

We have discussed many times over the years how sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, brain cleansing, inflammation reduction, mood and stress control and so much more. I have found that over the past few years, sleep duration is going down for teenage patients. The cause is primarily screen usage and a lack of parental involvement. These are important and non negotiable variables for teens if we are to help them grow and prosper mentally and physically.

Be involved in your teens choices regarding screens and time,

Dr. M

Charmaraman Journal of Adolescent Health