A recent study confirms that excessive instant messaging or texting can affect sleep and grades among teens. Instant messaging among teens was established as their strong emotional support and an excellent tool to collaborate and connect to group mates for projects and school-related activities.
However, excessive texting, according to author Xue Ming, a professor of neuroscience and neurology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, as cited in the Time Inc. Network, news section, affects the natural rhythm because teens tend to go to sleep late and get up late, which makes the student less efficient.
The findings of the study revealed that students who turned off their devices 30 minutes after they turn off their lights had significantly better grades than those who continued texting for more than 30 minutes, in the dark. Teens who continued to text when the lights were out slept fewer hours and were observed to be tired during the day.
Blue-light exposure delays melatonin release
The difficulty in sleeping was attributed to the delay of the melatonin release, which was also caused by the emission of the shortwave or blue light on the device. The study said exposure to this light are intensified when people looked at their gadgets, like smartphones and tablets in a dark room.
The research said that when the lights are off, the mind is primed for a transition, that is from wakefulness to sleep. When text messages and the alert lights, and light emission keeps on coming, it can disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, which is regulated by the body’s internal clock.
Disrupted Circadian Rhythms Effects
According to the Science Daily site, the disruption of the circadian rhythms affects both brain and body. The unpleasant effects include weight gain, impulsivity, slower thinking and other physiological and behavioral changes in mice. (Disruption Of Circadian Rhythms Affects Both Brain And Body, Mouse Study Finds, 2009).
Rapid Eye Movement
The inability of the teens to achieve the most important level of sleep, which is the rapid eye movement or REM, can directly affect their learning, memory consolidation, and social adjustment, the research stressed. It added that when there is a delay in falling asleep, but the rising time remains the same; the REM sleep level is cut short, which affects both the learning and memory.
Average Sleeping Hour Among Teens
Prof. Ming added that sleep is a biological necessity and not a luxury. Adolescents should have 8.5 hours of sleep every night.
Finally, one of the recommendations of the study implored that sleep education to be incorporated into the curriculum for the students to realize the importance of having enough sleep.
Texting After Dark May Harm Teens’ Sleep, Grades, http://news.health.com/2016/02/05/texting-after-dark-may-harm-teens-sleep-grades/
Disruption Of Circadian Rhythms Affects Both Brain And Body, Mouse Study Finds, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026225744.htm
Amabelle Equio, Ph.D candidate in Nursing at Silliman University, Health, Fitness, Medical Writer, Photography Enthusiast.