Associations between specific technologies and adolescent sleep quantity, sleep quality, and parasomnias

Sleep Med. 2014 Feb;15(2):240-7. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2013.08.799. Epub 2013 Dec 15.


Objective: We tested the hypothesis that weekday bedtime use of six technologies would be significantly associated with eight sleep parameters studied relating to sleep quantity, sleep quality, and parasomnias.

Methods: In our cross-sectional study, we previously administered validated age-appropriate questionnaires (School Sleep Habits Survey, Technology Use Questionnaire). Participating adolescents (n=738; 54.5% boys) were aged 11-13 years and were from the Midlands region of the United Kingdom in 2010.

Results: Frequent use of all technology types was significantly inversely associated with weekday sleep duration (hours). Frequent music listeners and video gamers had significantly prolonged sleep onset (β=7.03 [standard error {SE}, 2.66]; P<.01 and β=6.17 [SE, 2.42]; P<.05, respectively). Frequent early awakening was significantly associated with frequent use of all technology types. The greatest effect was observed in frequent television viewers (odds ratio [OR], 4.05 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 2.06-7.98]). Difficulty falling asleep was significantly associated with frequent mobile telephone use, video gaming, and social networking, with music listeners demonstrating the greatest effect (OR, 2.85 [95%CI, 1.58-5.13]). Music listeners were at increased risk for frequent nightmares (OR, 2.02 [95% CI, 1.22-3.45]). Frequent use of all technologies except for music and mobile telephones was significantly associated with greater cognitive difficulty in shutting off. Frequent television viewers were almost four times more likely to report higher sleepwalking frequency (OR, 3.70 [95% CI, 1.89-7.27]).

Conclusions: Frequent weekday technology use at bedtime was associated with significant adverse effects on multiple sleep parameters. If confirmed in other samples and longitudinally, improving sleep hygiene through better management of technology could enhance the health and well-being of adolescent populations.

Keywords: Adolescence; Insomnia; Parasomnias; Sleep duration; Sleep quality; Technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music / psychology
  • Parasomnias / etiology*
  • Sleep*
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone / statistics & numerical data
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Video Games / adverse effects
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data