If you’re a parent, you’ve probably already heard that electronics and sleep do not make good bed fellows. Articles like this one from Harvard highlight the connection between blue-light emitting devices (phones, tablets and computers) and the suppression of sleep-hormone melatonin. With lower levels of melatonin, sleep is shorter and or poorer quality. Worse still, research like this study shows that even when people sleep the same amount, those who read from a blue-light emitting reading device before bed were sleepier and took longer to wake up than those that had no pre-bedtime blue light exposure.
But while this is compelling research about not taking our electronics to bed, a new study from Rutgers University analyzes what kind of specific electronic activity on our devices is most harmful to a good night’s sleep. The answer? Texting. Yep. It turns out that nothing disrupts sleep — not Facebook Scrolling, not FaceTiming, not even watching videos on phones — like instant messaging.
Researchers studied 1,537 high school students in a mix of suburban, urban, public and private schools and found that students who texted longer in the dark slept fewer hours and were sleepier during the day than those who quick messaging when the lights went out. Texting before lights went out appears to have no impact on academic performance. Why? The effects of blue light are intensified in a darkened environment.
Read more about the fascinating research here.