Exposure to smartphone screens 'linked to lower quality of sleep'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Spending more time looking at smartphone screens could increase a person's chances of low-quality sleep, according to a new study.

The University of California, San Francisco research analysed data from 653 US adults, each of whom installed a smartphone application that recorded the number of minutes in each hour that the screen was turned on over a 30-day period.

“Increased smartphone screen time has been associated with an overall lower quality of sleep in a new study.“

Each participant totalled an average of 38.4 hours over this period, with smartphones being activated for 3.7 minutes in each hour on average. Longer average screen time was associated with poorer sleep quality and less sleep overall, particularly when phones were used near bedtime.

The results add to the body of evidence suggesting the increasingly ubiquitous use of smartphones in everyday life may have an impact on sleep, potentially leading to health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and depression.

Researchers noted that this study had some important limitations, including the self-selection of study participants and self-reporting of data, and was not enough on its own to show a causal relationship. Nevertheless, the results fit with the theory that bedtime smartphone use may negatively impact sleep.

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