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Smartphone addiction: Effects on sleep and what you can do



The study, published Tuesday in Frontiers in Psychiatry, looked at the use of smartphones among 1,043 students between the ages of 18 and 30 at King’s College London. Researchers asked students to fill out two questionnaires about sleep quality and smartphone use, in person and online.

Using a 10-question validated scale developed to assess children’s smartphone addiction, nearly 40% of college students qualified as “addicted” to smartphones, the study found.

“Our estimated prevalence is consistent with other reported studies in young adult populations globally, which is in the range of 30-45%,”

; wrote lead author and King’s College medical student Sei Yon Sohn and her co-authors in the study.

“Later use time was also significantly associated with smartphone addiction, and use after 1 o’clock gave a threefold increased risk,” the authors wrote.

Students who reported high cell phone use also reported poor sleep quality, the study found. This is in line with previous studies that have found that overuse of smartphones at night is associated with sleep problems, reduced sleep duration and daytime fatigue. This is likely because the use of smartphones close to bedtime has been shown to delay the circadian rhythm, the body’s normal sleep-and-wake-up clock.
Consider switching the screen to grayscale mode, which will make it less engaging, experts say.
In fact, the No. 1 rule is “no computers, cell phones and PDAs in bed and at least an hour before bedtime”, Dr. Vsevolod Polotsky, who leads sleep-based research into the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine. at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, CNN said in a recent interview.

That’s because “any LED spectrum light source can further suppress melatonin levels,” Polotsky said. Melatonin, secreted in a daily circadian rhythm, is often referred to as a “sleep hormone”, because we sleep better at night when levels reach a peak.

Response to studies

“This is a cross-sectional study, and as such can not lead to any firm conclusions about telephone use as a cause of reduced sleep quality,” said Bob Patton, a lecturer in clinical psychology at the University of Surrey, via email.

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“However, it provides some compelling evidence that the nature of smartphone use and its related consequences are important considerations in tackling the new phenomenon of ‘smartphone addiction,'” said Patton, a leader in drugs, alcohol and addictive behavior.

Andrew Przybylski, a senior fellow and associate professor at the University of Oxford, disagreed that science has validated any “so-called” smartphone addiction “, as it is” not recognized by any global health body and is not a psychiatric disorder. “

“Readers should be careful to draw some firm conclusions about the effects of smartphone use in the general population, or the idea that they are addictive in an objective sense, on the basis of this work,” said Przybylski, who is also director. of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, by e-mail.

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The authors acknowledged the limitations of the study, but stated: “Should smartphone addiction be established as a focus of clinical concern, those who use the phones after midnight or use the phones for 4 or more hours per day are likely to be at high risk.”

Fighting back to get zzz

Mobile phone addiction is also known as nomophobia, which stands for NO MObile PHOne phoBIA – a concept from the 21st century for fear of not being able to use the mobile phone or other smart devices. Are you an addict? It’s a quiz you can take to find out.
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If you or a loved one seems to have symptoms of smart device or internet addiction, experts have some suggestions.

Schedule timeouts. First, switch off the phone at certain times of the day, such as attending meetings, having dinner, playing with the children, and of course driving.

Ban apps from mobile devices. Remove social media apps, like Facebook and Twitter, from your phone, and just check in from your laptop. Try to wean yourself at 15-minute intervals at certain times of the day when it will not affect work or family life.

Go grayscale. Experts suggest going black and white. Beautiful colors are engaging, while gray is dull.

Replacement. Try to replace the smart device’s time with healthier activities such as meditating or interacting with real people.

Improve sleep. Do not put the mobile phone and the harmful blue light to bed. Use an old-fashioned alarm to wake you up.

You can also sign up for CNN’s newsletter series Sleep, but Better. We teach you the best tips on how to improve your zzz.

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