Objective: Adolescents may not receive the sleep they need. New media technology and new, popular energy drinks may be implicated in sleep deficits. In this pilot study we quantified nighttime technology use and caffeine consumption to determine effects on sleep duration and daytime behaviors in adolescents. We hypothesized that with increased technology use, adolescents increase caffeine consumption, resulting in insufficient sleep duration.
Patients and methods: Subjects were recruited from a pediatric office in a proximal suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Inclusion criteria for this study were middle and high school subjects aged 12 to 18 years old. The questionnaire, Adolescent Sleep, Caffeine Intake, and Technology Use, was developed by the investigators to measure adolescents' intake of caffeinated drinks, use of nighttime media-related technology, and sleep behaviors. Descriptive statistics characterized the subjects, their caffeine and technology use, and sleep variables. Regression models assessed the relationships between caffeine, technology use, and sleep variables, having adjusted for age, race, gender, and BMI.
Results: Sleep was significantly related to the multitasking index. Teenagers getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep on school nights tended to have 1.5- to 2-fold lower multitasking indices compared with those getting less sleep. Thirty-three percent of the teenagers reported falling asleep during school. Caffeine consumption tended to be 76% higher by those who fell asleep. The log-transformed multitasking index was significantly related to falling asleep during school and with difficulties falling asleep on weeknights.
Conclusions: Many adolescents used multiple forms of technology late into the night and concurrently consumed caffeinated beverages. Subsequently, their ability to stay alert and fully functional throughout the day was impaired by excessive daytime sleepiness. Future studies should measure more than television hours when evaluating the impact of nighttime activities on sleep patterns in adolescents.