A new study sheds light on what is keeping teenagers up at night.
Time Magazine recently published an article on What Is Keeping Teens From Getting Enough Sleep. Before I read the article I was thinking technology and social media would be two things affecting their sleep the most. As I know, personally, my phone and social media take up more time than they deserve. Between reading emails, Google News, and a few other sites an hour or two can pass in the blink of an eye. Then add in the social media sites, and suddenly it is very late in the evening. I even have friends who have deactivated their social media accounts because they were spending hours on end with these sites. Perhaps, however, that is just what my generation is doing to needlessly keep themselves awake. As for teenagers, I was shocked by what actually was keeping them up, according to Time:
This lack of sleep is then affecting their health and productivity as a result. The study was done between 1991 and 2010 by Katherine Keyes, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. She surveyed 270,000 8th, 10th and 12 grade students asking them two questions - how often they slept for at least seven hours a night, and how often they slept less than they should. In the 1990s there was a marked drop in sleep which is not what Keyes had thought she’d see. The research then found that there was a rise in childhood obesity in the mid-1990s which corresponded to the change in sleep.
Keyes and her team have noticed that sleep patterns have not gotten any better, but they also have not gotten any worse with the rise in technology use. This, though, is still concerning because of the long-term effects of lacking sleep. Sleep is when the body repairs, heals, grows, and generally does a lot more physical things. Sleep is also how we turn what we have learned into memories as we need this down time for the brain to process what it has learned. Sleep, at any age, is important, but it is very important for the young.
There are a lot of things that can affect our sleep from inactivity to a lacking of outside time as well as technology and weight. Those are just a few that can alter how we sleep. Let's make sure on a daily basis that we, and our families, are getting outside to exercise, putting the technology down, and, arguably more important, keeping that technology out of the bedrooms. We all need to make sleep a priority. Doubly so for our children.