Skip to main content

Electronic device use in bed reduces sleep duration and quality in adults


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact that portable electronic device use in bed after lights out has on sleep/wake behaviour within an adult population. Specifically, this study aimed to (1) identify patterns of use of electronic devices in bed; (2) examine the relationship between electronic device use in bed and sleep/wake behaviour; and (3) examine the impact of demographic variables on electronic device use in bed. Using a cross-sectional design, telephone interviews were conducted with 1,225 participants (52% female). Survey questions asked about participant demographic variables, their sleep/wake history, and their pre-sleep behaviours, which included electronic device usage. Forty-two percent of participants reported using electronic devices in bed after lights out, and 27% of adults who reported ‘always’ using electronic devices in bed were spending over an hour per night using them. Sleep characteristics were significantly different in device users compared to non-device users (p < 0.001). Frequency of device use was associated with later sleep times, and duration of device use was associated with shorter sleep duration and decreased sleep quality. Older adults were less likely to use devices in bed after lights out, and had less duration of usage. Electronic device use in bed was found to reduce sleep duration and sleep quality in adults. To further our understanding of the impact device use in bed has on adult sleep behaviour, future studies should consider employing objective measurements of both sleep behaviour and device usage.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Chang A-M, et al. Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2015;112(4):1232–7.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Grønli J, et al. Reading from an iPad or from a book in bed: the impact on human sleep. A randomized controlled crossover trial. Sleep Med. 2016;21:86–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Cain N, Gradisar M. Electronic media use and sleep in school-aged children and adolescents: a review. Sleep Med. 2010;11(8):735–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Falbe J, et al. Sleep duration, restfulness, and screens in the sleep environment. Pediatrics. 2015;135(2):e367–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Van den Bulck J. Television viewing, computer game playing, and Internet use and self-reported time to bed and time out of bed in secondary-school children. Sleep. 2004;27(1):101–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Shochat T, Flint-Bretler O, Tzischinsky O. Sleep patterns, electronic media exposure and daytime sleep-related behaviours among Israeli adolescents. Acta Paediatr. 2010;99(9):1396–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Saling LL, Haire M. Are you awake? Mobile phone use after lights out. Comput Hum Behav. 2016;64:932–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Exelmans L, Van den Bulck J. Bedtime mobile phone use and sleep in adults. Soc Sci Med. 2016;148:93–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Bhat S, et al. To sleep, perchance to tweet: in-bed electronic social media use and its associations with insomnia, daytime sleepiness, mood, and sleep duration in adults. Sleep Health. 2018;4(2):166–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Levenson JC, et al. Social media use before bed and sleep disturbance among young adults in the United States: a nationally representative study. Sleep J Sleep Sleep Disorders Res. 2017;40(9):1–7.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Lauderdale DS. Survey questions about sleep duration: does asking separately about weekdays and weekends matter? Behav Sleep Med. 2014;12(2):158–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Lauderdale DS, et al. Sleep duration: how well do self-reports reflect objective measures? The CARDIA Sleep Study. Epidemiology. 2008;19(6):838.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Lockley SW, Skene DJ, Arendt J. Comparison between subjective and actigraphic measurement of sleep and sleep rhythms. J Sleep Res. 1999;8(3):175–83.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Buysse DJ, et al. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index: a new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psychiatry Res. 1989;28(2):193–213.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Sinclair M, et al. Comparison of response rates and cost-effectiveness for a community-based survey: postal, internet and telephone modes with generic or personalised recruitment approaches. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2012;12(1):132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    R Core Team R: A language and environment for statistical computing. 2013.

  17. 17.

    Rajaratnam SM, Arendt J. Health in a 24-h society. Lancet. 2001;358(9286):999–1005.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gabrielle Rigney.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical standards

The 2016R2 NSS received approval by the Human Ethics Research Review Panel at CQUniversity before administration to the general public. Project: H14/09-203, NATIONAL SOCIAL SURVEY 2016.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lastella, M., Rigney, G., Browne, M. et al. Electronic device use in bed reduces sleep duration and quality in adults. Sleep Biol. Rhythms 18, 121–129 (2020).

Download citation


  • Electronic device
  • Bedtime
  • Sleep
  • Behaviour