Kids: For a Good Night’s Sleep, Turn Off, Tune Out (and Adults too!)

Study finds 20% of teens awake up at night to check social media

More than one in five teenagers say they “almost always” wake up during the night to look at or post messages on social media, according in some of the latest sleep research from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data in Cardiff, Wales.
Researchers also determined that more than a third of 12- to 15-year-olds say they wake up to check social media at least once a week. Those who reported waking to use social networks recorded lower levels of well-being, the study notes.

Not surprisingly, more than half of those who almost always woke to check Facebook or Twitter reported “almost always” going to school feeling tired.
In addition, researchers discovered that having a regular wake time and use of social media at night are more important than a regular bedtime in determining whether students are tired during the day.

As a result, researchers argued against later school start times for teens. If schools started later, students would be less likely to have set wake times.
“Having a regular morning routine may actually prove to be a very important feature in helping adolescents concentrate and enjoy their learning, something that may actually be undermined by changes to the school day,” the research paper notes.

The institute’s Kimberly Horton adds that curbing nighttime waking also is critical. “It seems very important to discourage adolescents from using social media during the night. No amount of effort to develop regular bedtimes or to lengthen the time in bed would seem to be able to compensate for the disruption that this can cause.”