CHEST: Technology Use at Night Tied to Daytime Problems

Children's use of communication technology before bed may be related to cognitive, mood issues

MONDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The use of communication technology among children and adolescents prior to bed appears to be associated with excessive movements, insomnia, and leg pain during the night, and may negatively impact mood and lead to cognitive problems during the daytime, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4 in Vancouver, Canada.

Peter G. Polos, M.D., of the JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., and colleagues analyzed responses from 40 students, aged 8 to 22 years, who completed a modified version of the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire from September 2009 to May 2010 to assess the effects of sleep time-related information and communication technology (STRICT) on sleep patterns and daytime functioning.

The investigators found that 77.5 percent of the students had a hard time falling asleep. The average number of times students were awakened by electronic media was once per night, and the average number of texts or e-mails per night was 33.5. Older age correlated with later bedtimes and more time spent using communication technology among adolescents. Nighttime issues associated with the use of electronic media prior to bed included excessive movements, insomnia, and leg pain. Daytime problems included high rates of daytime cognitive/mood problems such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties.

"This pilot study suggests that STRICT may have an adverse impact on sleep hygiene and daytime function which may be significant. Questions regarding STRICT should be incorporated into routine evaluation of sleep patients. These data suggest that further studies are needed to evaluate the short and long term consequences of STRICT on sleep," the authors write.

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