Excessive digital technology use is associated with reduced sleep quality regardless of environmental and genetic factors, says a recent study published in the SLEEP Journal. The study aimed to explore the association between poor sleep and the excessive use of digital technology among adolescents, and the results showed that the link between excessive digital device use and lower sleep quality remains significant even after controlling for environmental and genetic factors.
Factors related to parental control and lack of boundaries resulting in inconsistent bedtimes and excessive use of technology could be impacting the quality of sleep. Digital technology is thought to impact sleep quality in various ways, including disrupting melatonin levels due to the blue light emitted by digital screens, requiring constant interaction with digital devices, and hyperarousal.
The study used data from a longitudinal study that tracked the development of cohorts of twins in England and Wales born between 1994 and 1995. The results reported that the excessive use of digital technology was associated with a lower quality of sleep among adolescents, even after controlling for symptoms of anxiety and depression, loneliness, disorderly behavior in the neighborhood, maternal insomnia, sex, and socioeconomic status.
Furthermore, the difference in technology use between twins was linked to corresponding differences in sleep quality, indicating that familial environmental factors did not significantly influence the association between excessive digital device use and lower sleep quality. The researchers found that some of the environmental and genetic factors could be contributing to the excessive use of digital technology and poor quality of sleep, such as the use of technology within a peer group and genes affecting the two phenotypes.
Possible mechanisms through which the problematic use of digital technology impacts sleep quality were also discussed. Apart from poor sleep quality due to excessive blue light exposure interfering with the release of melatonin and the over-stimulation of the brain due to the use of digital devices closer to bedtime, the researchers also discussed the effect of late-night digital technology use on circadian rhythms.
The findings of the study are significant, as they indicate that reducing the use of digital devices before bedtime could improve sleep quality among adolescents. As a society, it is essential to acknowledge the impact that digital technology has on our daily lives, and to limit its use for the sake of our physical and mental health.
– According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 90% of adults in the US admit to using some type of electronic device within the hour before going to bed.
– Adequate sleep is crucial for various aspects of our physical and mental health, including hormone regulation, mood, cognitive function, and immune function.
– The excessive use of digital technology has also been linked to various mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.
The study found that the excessive use of digital technology is associated with reduced sleep quality among adolescents, regardless of environmental and genetic factors. The findings highlight the need to limit the use of digital devices before bedtime to improve sleep quality and enhance our overall physical and mental health.
The excessive use of digital technology is detrimental to our sleep quality and indirectly affects our physical and mental health. As individuals, we can make a conscious effort to limit our use of digital devices before bedtime, and as a society, we need to acknowledge the impact of technology on our daily lives and take appropriate measures to mitigate its negative effects.