When my house was full with eight children, most of them teenagers, most with cell phones, it was obvious that cell phone use after typical bed time hours was contributing to daytime fatigue and suspected poor school performance. With my daughter who simply couldn’t unplug from socializing, we collected her phone before bed. I learned years later, that she would do chores for her older brothers to get access to their phones!
The study Effects of Instant Messaging on School Performance in Adolescents found that students with the most cell phone use after lights out reported the least sleep duration, a higher rate of daytime sleepiness, and poorer academic performance.
The solution is simple. Have a family policy that all phones and smart anything (Ipads, laptops, etc.) are turned in for overnight charging to a location like the parents bedroom!
Training your child and your family in general to unplug from this constant need for connectedness will improve more than just sleep and academic performance. You might even find that your teenager comes and says good night and tucks you in at night!
Dr. Paul Thomas, M.D. is an award-winning Dartmouth-trained pediatrician with nearly 30 years of experience in pediatrics. In addition to being board certified in Pediatrics, he is an expert on addiction and board certified in Addiction Medicine. His practice, Integrative Pediatrics, serves some 11,000 children in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book, The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health—from Pregnancy through Your Child’s Teen Years (Ballantine 2016).