Most people know by now that the use of media at night can disrupt sleep patterns and cause people to be tired or irritated the next day. A study by the Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine found that media use is particularly harmful for adolescents ages 13-17 who also are being treated for ADHD. Not only does it decrease the amount of sleep needed for this age group, it was also shown to increase anxiety and depression for them, as well.

In the study, media use is defined as including social networking, video games as well as TV. Lately, it’s computers and phones that are taking the brunt of criticism when it comes to disrupting the sleep of teens, but TV still plays a role in keeping kids from getting the sleep they need. Adolescents who did not get the recommended 8 hours or more of sleep a night on a school night due to staying up and consuming media had increased sleep problems as a result of the shorter sleep duration.

Moreover, it was found that media use was associated with greater adolescent-reported anxiety and depression. The finding reported that parents noticed generalized anxiety disorder symptoms in their children, as well.

As always, it’s important to monitor and limit media use at night. A lack of quality sleep only worsens the health and behavior of teens with ADHD, but studies show it negatively affects this population as a whole. Here are a few ways you can help limit screen time for your child:

  • Make it clear that screen time is a privilege and can be taken away at any time. Enforce rules around having to complete homework or chores before they can watch TV or use their cell phones.
  • Be a good role model and limit your own screen time
  • Encourage other activities that don’t include media use
  • Educate your teen about the negative effects of media use

Getting enough quality sleep is one of the healthiest habits you can establish your child, and especially important in children who need additional guidance in managing their time and impulses. If you are in the Granger, Indiana area and have a concern about your child or teens sleep habits, please contact us for an appointment so we can help determine if it is being caused by a sleep disorder.