Electronics Are Disturbing Sleep in Teens

Over time, teens have progressed to their electronics becoming an addictive source. Teenagers are forgetting about what is going on and happening in the real world because their eyes are glued to their phones. They are continuously waiting for notifications on their smartphones. Teens use their phones as a distraction from what they really need to be focusing on and they see it as a source to not pay attention. They need to be encouraged to put down their phones and see for themselves what they are missing out on.

Undoubtedly, teenagers have become dependent on their smartphones. Their main source of entertainment is social media and the apps that are built into these devices. It has been recommended from Pediatrics that teenagers should only be on their phones for an estimation of two hours a day. People argue about why teens being on their phones is such a big deal but there are multiple reasons for it. An article that talks about the value of putting down electronics states that teens are “replacing face-to-face communication with text messages and social media.” This quote can show how the constant phone use is becoming a serious problem because teens are barley getting the social interaction they need. An important part of being a teenager is meeting new people, hanging out with your friends, and just enjoying life. These teens are missing out on their life and opportunities because of these addictive devices. Would you rather sit on the phone texting someone about their day or go outside and talk to them face to face?  Teens are unable to see how much of an issue this is until we put it in this harsh way. 

Evidently, reporters have interviewed teens about their obsession with their smartphones, and as it turns out, some teens agree that they are spending way too much time on them. An article that shows evidence of teens agreeing states that, “According to the surveys behind the report, 95 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 say they have a smartphone or access to one, and 45 percent say they are online almost constantly.” The fact that teens are aware of this, makes it easier to help them put their phones down and live in the real world. Does this mean that teens should never use their phone or get time to post on their social media? No, but teens should not have their head buried in their phones at all times. Like stated above, a good two hours a day on the phone is sufficient, teens shouldn’t be constantly scrolling through different sits and platforms because this is how an obsession starts. 

Certainly, phones may be used as a distraction and a coping mechanism. Although the use of technology can be harmful, often times it can be convenient, especially in the world we live in today. People tend to use their phones as a way to deal with stress or other feelings. Some experts say that teens will go onto their phone during the day and scroll through their social media to release their anxiety or depression. These are all accurate reasons to use the phone but when it becomes overused, it becomes an issue. The screen times of high schoolers are skyrocketing as more students are signing up to various social media sites. Could this be because students need a distraction from their work or are they just becoming addicted to the social media platforms? These are bad habits that can come into place. Teens do not want to be obsessed with their phones, especially when trying to juggle school and other activities.

Surly, some teens may not even see that they have an addiction to their smartphones. In an article suggesting that people are unaware if they are addicted to their phones or not, “As well as putting a physical barrier between yourself and whoever you’re with, an obsession with wanting to compulsively check social media, sharing pictures of food, holidays and yourself, can mean you become more connected with your online world than the real one.” Teens may think they are using their phones so much, but they don’t see the problems are come to a concussion about it. Social media has become people sharing their everyday lives that it questions when they even have time to put their phone down.

Social media apps, like TikTok and Snapchat, intentionally implement features to keep users interested in their network. This often leads to an addiction, which is becoming increasingly common in young people. To help teens break the habit of checking their smartphones and using the platforms constantly, there are other ways to communicate and interact with people. The main reason teens use their phones is to interact and see what other people are doing. Activities and sports are a great way to stay busy and also keep in touch with friends and other peers. This can be so much more than a phone distraction but can also show that teens are able to interact with each other face to face rather than texting on devices. These days teenagers are so used to connecting online and posting pictures that they miss out on all of the reality. When they go, they take pictures to show off to other people, or they continue to hide in their phones. 

Ultimately, teens spending an inordinate amount of time on their phones is what leads to this addicting habit of never turning off their phones. Teens have becoming dependent on their devices and use it as a source to get away from their problems. They use interaction on social media to not talk to individuals face to face. They continuously ignore the problem when they know they are spending too much time on their smartphones. Soon enough, teens will realize that they’re wasting their time and not enjoying their life in the real world.  

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.

One 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.” 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.” 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 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.” 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.

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.

Morning tends to come up before teens have even fallen asleep because they stay up so late at night on their phones. This means that teens stay up most of the night on their phones when their parents think they are sleeping. Sleep is the condition with which each of us is familiar from the very first hours of our lives. Sleep is essential for humans, especially teenagers because it is needed for our body and brain. Sleep is rest that is needed to restore the energy of brain cells after being awake. It is a physiological need of the body, which appears to be a deep protective inhibition, that prevents fatigue and can deplete the nerve cells. Sleep is one of the most important things as a human being. When teenagers refuse to put sleep first, it only hurts themselves. Sleep is something that needs to be taken seriously and the phones need to be put away before all teens become sleep deprived because of it.

Teenagers have becoming so addicted to their phones at night that it is affecting their sleep schedule. Some teens may even receive sleep deprivation from staring at the screens for so long. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for teens. It is a term often used to describe sleeplessness or lack of sleep. Teenagers suffer through this the most because they have a tendency to be addicted to their phones at night. An article shows how one of the consequences teens go through because of using social media at night is sleep deprivation. That same article states that, “In our analyses, we found that teens who spent more time online and on social media were more likely to sleep less. Time spent watching television had a much weaker link to fewer hours of sleep, and teens who spent more time with their friends in person or on sports or exercise actually slept more.” This quote explicitly shows how the teens that are consistently checking their social media at night are the ones who are becoming sleep deprived. Looking at texts and scrolling through all different platforms at night, is what leads to disturbed sleep. 

Do teens have trouble getting to sleep or sleep fitfully because their brains are busy processing the mixed signals of social media? Social media is an addictive platform that allows people to share their thoughts, information, and ideas. It is mostly videos, posts, pictures, and texts that people scroll through at night. It also contains personal information that people find intriguing. The brain is completely busy with all of the information it is bombarded with at night that it has no time to relax. The whole point of sleep is to rest your brain and body so that the next day it is refreshed and ready. Having trouble sleeping is very common for teens because they have become addicted to their phones. When teens are constantly looking at their phones and taking in all of this new information on the social media platforms, it is very distracting and hard for the brain to relax. 

Do teens sleep less soundly because their active brains are never calm enough for REM sleep? REM sleep stands for rapid eye movement. As stated in an article about REM sleep, “REM sleep plays an important role in brain development as well as other functions including mood, dreaming, and memory.” This shows how not having REM sleep will affect multiple parts in the brain. REM sleep also helps to ensure better mental concentration and mood regulation, which are two things that are important to your daily work performance and quality of life. During REM sleep, your eyes move rapidly behind your closed eyes, your heart rate speeds up, and your breathing becomes irregular. Rem sleep can cause a teenager’s brain to be less calm especially if they were actively on their phones for half the night and not actually sleeping. An article showing reports on sleep states, “Increased new media screen time may be involved in the recent increases (from 35% to 41% and from 37% to 43%) in short sleep among adolescents. Public health interventions should consider electronic device use as a target of intervention to improve adolescent health.” This is a prime example on how phones cause teens to lose sleep. Being deprived of REM sleep interferes with memory formation. However, memory problems associated with a loss of REM sleep could be due to overall sleep disruption, since those often occur together. Not having a sufficient sleep schedule and staying awake on the internet all night will also affect the REM sleep. An article states that, “following a sleep schedule can help maximize the amount of quality sleep, including REM sleep, that you get each night.” Not receiving REM sleep can be the reason that teens are sleeping less soundly because the brain cannot function and have REM sleep with the constant phone use at night.  

Does the alertness to possible notifications change the value of sleep for teens who are more interested in staying in touch overnight than being asleep? Notifications are the texts, emails, or calls that you receive on your phone. These notifications let you know what’s new, what you missed, or any other news. 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. When people are ready for bed, they may stay alert in case of any upcoming notifications that may buzz throughout the night. This can be something that disrupts sleep because it does not allow our brain to fully relax or for you to be fully asleep. An article mentions, “It is not uncommon for notifications and alerts to arrive on your iPhone as you hit the bed for a sound sleep. These frequent text messages, apps, or email notifications can also affect your sleeping habits. That’s simply because we tend to check these notifications out of curiosity instead of avoiding them.” Because teens are so nosy and concerned for their notifications, they will jump up to check their iPhone while supposed to be sleeping. This is a major problem and the continuous notifications, buzzes, alerts, and other noises from the phone will continue to be a gigantic distraction when trying to fall asleep and will make teens sleep deprived. 


Molloy, Fran. (2019, April). Do mobile phones affect your sleep? The Lighthouse.

Twenge, J. (2017, September). Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic.

Cavanagh, S.R (2017, August). No, Smartphones are Not Destroying a Generation. Psychology Today.

Mortin, A. (2021, March). How Much Should You Limit Kids’ Screen Time and Electronics Use? Verywellfamily.

Eng, J. (2019, November). Teens Agree — They Spend Too Much Time On Phones. ParentsTogether.

Preston, M. (2021, December). Am I Addicted To My Phone? Delamere.

Twenge, J. (2017, October). Teens are sleeping less. Why? Smartphones. PBS WHYY.

Stibich, M. (2022, November). What Is REM Sleep?. verywellmind.

Agarwal, M. (2023, February). How to Automatically Silence Notifications on iPhone At Night. WebTrickz.

Twenge, J. (2017, April). Decreases in self-reported sleep duration among U.S. adolescents 2009–2015 and association with new media screen time. ScienceDirect.

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1 Response to research-pinkheart

  1. davidbdale says:

    There’s a LOOOTTTT of boilerplate and buzzword talk here, PinkHeart, but you manage to sneak in some good bits about REM sleep and the “alertness to notifications” state of mind that rescue your essay from complete replication of dozens that have written papers like this before.


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