I came across this headline while connecting on LinkedIn well past my bedtime and thought “Ok I’ll bite, I’ll watch.” I have been wondering for some time now how much sleep do I really need and how harmful is it to do that “one last check” before going to bed?

Psychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel explains the negative effects of phones and screens before bed in this video. According to Dr. Siegel we need at least 7-9 hours of sleep. What is really going on with our brains when we do not get enough sleep? For one, we aren’t letting our active neurons in the brain rest. Most importantly though, the supportive cells are not able to do their job of cleaning out toxins. Without enough sleep, we have a rough day ahead. Lack of sleep lends itself to impaired memory, altered attention, challenged thinking, and eventual weight gain.

Dr. Siegel’s video touches on adults, but with so many youth having smart phones now, I can imagine that all of those symptoms are increased further. This article discusses how smart phones work on the teenage brain. Smart phone usage can lead to a decline in school, sports, and socialization at home and with peers. This behavior is also linked to depression, ADHD, and anxiety.   See how our services at Equinox help teens and families overcome these issues.

Without stopping the cycle, it can only get worse. I watch teens come into our office who have stayed up late texting, facebooking, and using other forms of social media, and I recognize the signs of sleep deprivation.  There is a noticeable change in how the teens regulate their emotions, interact with others with more agitation and impatience, and boy do they have low motivation on those days!

Prioritizing sleep is a must. Shut screens off an hour prior to bed. I am personally going to challenge myself to prioritize sleep and shut down an hour prior to bedtime. Parents will you be able do this for yourself and help your child accept this challenge? Does your teenager have a problem or addiction with electronics? Let us help!

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