Bedtime Texting, Internet Use, Disturbs Sleep and Mood in Teens

Bedtime Texting, Internet Use, Disturbs Sleep and Mood in Teens

Texting and Teens

Lifestyle today has changed for both working adults and for teens. While working adults are very conscious of what they need to achieve and how they need to achieve, the core problem is with teens. There is no wonder that teens today have developed the ‘we know everything’ attitude. How? Answer is hidden inside technology. Mobile phones and internet have led to a never ending and ever expanding spiral of social network and one who steps in without considering them as basic necessities will keep sinking in the unfathomable depths of virtual world. Teens are the main victims.

It is not that the parents are not concerned. They are! It is because they are concerned; they ensure that their children stay away from the ‘three deadly Ds’ – drinking, drugs and dating. That’s good news but the most alarming concern is that they do not give importance to sleep. Performance of every teen in school along with mental wellbeing and health crucially depends on their sleep habits and hence, they must get proper sleep.

When it is said that they need to sleep, the question that comes is, don’t they sleep? The answer is, they do sleep but they end up with inadequate sleep that hampers almost every aspect of life.  Sleep deprivation for teens today is caused by Internet use and bedtime texting. Texting a friend is common for every teen. Not only just friends, it has been found that teens today fall in love or get into emotional relationships pretty early and while they keep themselves busy in school and tuitions, they consider bed time texting as the best solution for making up the time they fail to use to be together. Midnight bedtime texting keeps them awake for long and sometimes often till dawn. As a result, they continue to develop stress, fatigue and behavioral changes over time. The same is true even in case of internet use where the teens engage themselves in online chatting through Facebook,  Orkut and similar other platforms for socialization.

Sleep deprivation can in general cause physical health issues because, the body fails to get rest and re-energize itself for next day. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is also associated with some serious mental problems, which can lead to erratic mood swings. Scientists have found that when a person sleeps, the brain flushes itself and gets rid of any unnecessary information while organizing the rest. When this organization fails and information clusters lay scattered all over the brain, the brain’s capacity to capture new information decreases! This leads to problems of attention paying, problems of staying focused and it can also lead to uncontrolled behavior along with over-activity or hyperactivity. Depression is another outcome of poor sleep or inadequate sleep. Teens go through a number of stress situations in schools and tuitions. Extreme competition can lead to inferiority complex and put additional pressure on them leading to depression. Depression is dangerous and it can induce negative thoughts in teens, which can be self-destructive in nature.

So, it is the duty of parents to stop bedtime texting and internet use to make sure that their beloved children are getting their necessary share of sleep that is necessary for them to excel in every aspect of their life!

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad