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Teenagers Use of Cell Phones At Night Interrupts Sleep

Text messaging and calling after 'lights out' is associated with feeling tired

MONDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents frequently use their cell phones after "lights out" at night, and those who do so are more likely to feel tired, according to study findings published in the Sept. 1 issue of Sleep.

Jan Van den Bulck, Ph.D., of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, analyzed questionnaires completed by 1,656 secondary school children (52.1 percent male; average age 13.7 years). Respondents were asked to indicate how often they used their cell phones for text messages or calls during different periods of the night. The same respondents rated their degree of tiredness on a follow-up questionnaire one year later.

More than half of the students surveyed said they sent or received text messages after lights out more than once a month and about one-fifth of them said they did so at least once a week. The risk of being very tired was more than five times higher among those who used their phones at night several times a week or more.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that children's bedrooms ought to be 'electronic media-free' rooms," the author concludes. "The Academy appeared to be thinking mainly of media such as TV and video games. The present study suggests that there are many more threats to adolescent sleep in the bedroom."

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