DARIEN, IL – A new study to be presented at SLEEP 2022 shows significant changes in sleep timing and screen use among America’s children during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They spent more time on screens, went to bed later, and slept longer.
Researchers examined longitudinal data from more than 5,000 adolescents aged 11-14 years participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. Participants reported sleep and daily screen time use across six timepoints in 2020-2021, including prior to the pandemic.
“Adolescents and families have turned to online activities and social platforms more than ever before to maintain well-being, connect with friends and family, and for online schooling,” said lead author Orsolya Kiss, who has a doctorate in cognitive psychology and is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Health Sciences at SRI International. “However, it is concerning that there was no indication of any spontaneous decline in screen use into 2021 when there were fewer restrictions.”
Data show that wake up times were delayed about 1.5 hours in May-August 2020, partly due to summer break, before moving to earlier times in October 2020. Bedtimes were delayed about one hour during all pandemic evaluations, even when the new school year started. Recreational screen time was dramatically higher across the first year of the pandemic, relative to pre-pandemic, with adolescents spending about 45 minutes more on social media and 20 minutes more playing video games. The increased screen time was associated with later bedtimes and wake up times across the pandemic.
Kiss said these data highlight the need to promote children’s balanced and informed use of social media platforms, video games, and other digital technology to ensure adequate opportunity to sleep and maintain other healthy behaviors.
“There is an urgent need to increase parental awareness and help families to formulate age-appropriate media use plans,” she said.
This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented June 6 and 7 during SLEEP 2022. SLEEP is the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.
Abstract ID: 0049
Poster Presentation Date: Monday, June 6, 5:15-7:15 p.m., Board 059
Oral Presentation Date: Tuesday, June 7, 11:15-11:30 a.m., W207
Presenter: Orsolya Kiss, PhD
For a copy of the abstract or to arrange an interview with the study author or an AASM spokesperson, email email@example.com.
About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives. The AASM has a combined membership of 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals (aasm.org).
About the Sleep Research Society
The Sleep Research Society is a professional membership society that advances sleep and circadian science. The SRS provides forums for the exchange of information, establishes and maintains standards of reporting and classifies data in the field of sleep research, and collaborates with other organizations to foster scientific investigation on sleep and its disorders. The SRS also publishes the peer-reviewed, scientific journals Sleep and Sleep Advances (sleepresearchsociety.org).