New Directions in the Link Between Technology Use and Sleep in Young People
Young people have an affinity for technological devices. Several reviews of more than 70 studies over the past 15 years have shown consistent links between young people’s use of technology and sleep. This has led the scientific and general communities to deduce that using technology before bed worsens sleep. However, the majority of studies performed have been correlational in nature, making causal inferences difficult. This chapter focuses on two important questions of “how” and “how much” technology use affects sleep. The former question details primarily experimental studies that have tested potential mechanisms, including technology use inducing physiological arousal, displacing bedtime, or screenlight disturbing sleep and circadian rhythms. While the latter question appears straightforward, new meta-analytic results suggest it is not. Furthermore, new studies are identifying important moderators for the link between technology use and sleep. Finally, we consider the reverse relationship – the possibility of technology use increasing in response to difficulty sleeping. Our chapter concludes with a research agenda that does not necessarily point the finger at technology use as the reason why so many young people are sleeping too late and too little.
KeywordsTechnology use Sleep Adolescents Arousal Screenlight Displacement Bedtimes
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