The internet is a very powerful and impulsive environment for teenagers. Most teenagers find it very difficult to turn off their electronics and not have the internet control them. Sleeping is a very important and necessary act that each person needs in their life. It is the body’s way of getting a reset button or charging through the night. The internet is causing insomnia to teenagers who obsessively use their smartphones. Insomnia disorder is very common in adolescents. Using technology like smartphones, computers, and TV before going to bed can make it extremely hard to fall asleep. This can cause serious issues to teenagers and may overall become a bad habit and sleeping disorder. When technology interferes with our sleep process, it can allow us to lose the sleep we are supposed to have. Teenagers will begin to see an improvement of their energy and how their mind is if they get a good night’s sleep.
First thing to remember, the usage of phones before bed can make your brain think of so many other things rather than sleep. Some teens may admit that they have issues falling asleep at night but will refuse to say that social media is the cause of it. An article was written by Fran Molloy, who is an author and journalist. She mentions the issues that can be caused by overusing technology at night and the affect it has on people’s brains. Fran Molloy interviewed sleep specialists to receive their thoughts and opinions on this topic. She brings in a doctor’s point of view, Dr. Wayne Warburton, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. He states that, “using mobile phones in bed sends ‘mixed messages’ to your brain.” This simply can be the reason why most people’s brains are so stimulated and not relaxed after bed. For the most part, social media is not allowing people to receive the rest that they need because they are so addicted to their smartphones. Teens will need to understand the consequences of not receiving enough sleep because eventually this will severely affect their brain.
In particular, internet use before bed will cause lack of sleep and can turn into insomnia. This is a common sleep disorder that will make it hard for someone to fall asleep or stay asleep. Jean Twenge is a psychologist who advocates for teens to use less technology and believes it is draining for these young people. She complicates the matter further when she writes, “In just the four years from 2012 to 2015, 22 percent more teens failed to get seven hours of sleep. The increase is suspiciously timed, once again starting around when most teens got a smartphone” (Twenge, 2017). This shows that once teens are old enough to receive unlimited technology access, their sleep time begins to decrease. Teens would rather scroll through their social media and stay up texting their friends, rather than get a good night’s rest.
Similarly, the internet is creating an obsessive and reliable place for teens to distract themselves with. Twenge actually started doing interviews with teenagers to see how deep this theory really was. Come to find out, most teens “checked social media right before they went to sleep, and reached for their phone as soon as they woke up in the morning” (Twenge, 2017). This clearly means that teens are limiting their sleep and using their smartphones as an obsessive comfort source by constantly checking their media and scrolling through multiple apps and platforms. When a person is keeping their phone next to them or on them while they sleep, it may cause lack of sleep because this is a constant distraction. According to Twenge, “Nearly all slept with their phone, putting it under their pillow, on the mattress, or at the very least within arm’s reach of the bed” (Twenge, 2017). Twenge believes the teens that were interviewed are obsessed with their phones and that those who sleep with it after using it see it as a sort of “comfort”. Initially this will cause bad habits and insomnia to people who continue to overuse their phone at night.
Furthermore, teens are deeply attached to their electronics and can seriously damage their sleep schedules. Insomnia is not something that teens should have to experience or go through. Nowadays teens are using their phones like crazy and becoming dependent on it. Sarah Rose Cavanagh is a psychologist and author who talks about the significance of teens separating themselves from their smartphones. She states, “Yes, we should put down our phones once in a while and take a walk in the damn woods” (Cavanagh, 2017). This quote is a perfect example to show that not only is staring at a screen before bed genuinely unhealthy but if teens would get the sleep they need, they would be a lot more energized and able to do different things rather than staring at their smartphones all day and night.
To sum up, there is no question that technology is ruining sleep for many people. The internet is a very arguable topic because people don’t want to give up their electronics. Insomnia affects not only the mind, but also our bodies in all different ways. In this generation, and many others, teenagers have become fixated on using social media and the internet before bed. For most of them, it is already a habit that they don’t even realize they’re doing. The constant notifications, buzzes, alerts, and other noises from the phone is a huge distraction when lying in bed trying to fall asleep. And with that, people will want to check their phones after ever noise which will be nonstop, and this can be deeply disrupting the time that they have to sleep. Social media and the internet itself are shown to be a struggle for people to let go of. Good sleep habits can help prevent insomnia, but those who stay up late on the internet will see that the lack of sleep is only hurting themselves.
Molloy, Fran. (2019, April). Do mobile phones affect your sleep? The Lighthouse. https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/please-explain/do-mobile-phones-affect-your-sleep
Twenge, J. (2017, September). Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/
Cavanagh, S.R (2017, August). No, Smartphones are Not Destroying a Generation. Psychology Today.