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Why we need to keep cell phones out of the bedroom

If parents needed any additional evidence that allowing electronic devices into the bedroom after dark is a bad idea, it just arrived with the results of a study by the Sleep Disorders Center at JKF Medical Center in Edison, N.J.

To no-one’s surprise, the study confirmed that children who used electronics late at night had a greater chance of sleep disorders, which could lead to “irritability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and poor cognitive functioning (thinking skills) during the day.”

The study was based on a survey of 40 boys and girls with an average age of 14. The researchers focused on their activities after they had gone to their bedrooms for the night and were supposed to be sleeping.

Cell phones appear to be the most disruptive late night devices. Participants in the study reported an average of 34 texts per night after bedtime. These texts occurred from 10 minutes to four hours after going to bed. The average participant was awoken once a night by a text.

Girls were more "text happy," while boys were more likely to stay awake playing video games. “These activities are not sleep-promoting, like reading a novel or listening to music. They stimulate the brain and depress normal sleep cycles,” said study author Dr. Peter G. Polos.

Calling America a “sleep-deprived culture,” Polos noted that teens get little enough sleep as it is, with sports, homework, and getting up early for school all contributing to fewer hours of proper rest. Late-night media use isn't helping, he said.

About half of the parents of study participants didn't know what the kids were up to, said Polos. The others knew, but had a fatalistic attitude. “They [parents] thought, ‘This is the world we live in, what can you do?’” said Polos.

Instead of opting out, parents need to be more involved. They need to create clear rules for the use of electronics, such as no computers or gaming consoles in the bedroom, no phone calls or texting during meal times, and they should establish a firm cell phone curfew.

Polos also recommends that doctors start asking children and teens about night-time media use during routine check-ups. Both children and parents need to be aware of the negative consequences of poor sleep.



Comments:
Comment by Cindy H. @lifeonprint, posted 11/3/2010, 8:35 AM:

wow, this is great information! Thank you so much, gives me something to think about. Thanks again for all the great information!
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