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Monday, June 11, 2018

Screen Time Linked to Insomnia, Depression

For adolescents, the more time spent on electronic screens the greater the likelihood of insomnia and shorter sleep duration, which in turn are linked to a higher incidence of depressive symptoms. Those were the findings of a new study by researchers at Stony Brook University, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Higher rates of depressive symptoms among teens may be partially explained through the ubiquitous use of screen-based activities, which can interfere with high-quality restorative sleep,” Stella Xian Li, a postdoctoral associate at Stony Brook.

Parents, health-care professionals, and educators should consider instructing adolescents about the effects of screen time and regulating device use.

“We’re very interested to see whether the adverse influences of social media and screen use on sleep and mental health persist during the transition to adulthood,” said Lauren Hale, a professor of family, population, and preventive medicine at Stony Brook who also collaborated on the study.

The researchers analyzed data from surveys of more than 2,800 teens, about evenly divided between males and females. Respondents reported how many hours they spent daily on gaming, social messaging, TV/movies, and web surfing. Gaming was found to have a stronger link to depressive symptoms than messaging activity.

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