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Kids New Insomnia Habit: Waking-Up to Text

Kids New Insomnia Habit: Waking-Up to Text

Story Time is a texting game in which participants feed one another follow up lines to an emerging story. Quotes is another time-killer that’s caught on: One player texts an iconic quote from a book or movie and the other player tries to ID it. Sounds harmless enough, right? But when kids do it at 3 a.m.—or sign on to Facebook and other social media sites at that hour—they’re risking more than lost sleep (and that’s nothing minor!).

According to a study in the Journal of Youth Studies, 20 percent of kids age 12 to 15 regularly wake up during the night to send or check messages. As a consequence, they’re exhausted at school, and that translates to poorer grades, troubled relationships and greater susceptibility to illnesses.

Children 12 to 15 need nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, but the researchers say almost 18 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds and 28 percent of 14- to 15-year-olds reported they go to bed around or after midnight. That means they’re hitting the hay way too late for sufficient sleep and many are waking up later in the night to get online.

What’s the solution? All cell phones on the kitchen table. Parents, share the pain. No other communication devices in the bedroom. Lights off at 9PM and that means computers, tablets and gaming stations are off-line at bedtime. It’s important for their health (yours, too), grades and future. They may complain, but they’ll appreciate it in the short- and long-run.

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

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