You noticed your teens are always tired? Sleep deprivation amongst teenagers reached the extent of an “epidemic,” warns Stanford University’s Sleep Medicine Center.
Researchers point out that 87% of teens skip a bedtime schedule due to several factors, where smartphones and other devices that emit blue light play a significant role. It is known that blue light counteract against the brain sleeping crave. But let’s not throw all the guilt on teens’ urges to stay up late. School schedule sets early hours to begin courses, which are unfriendly (to say at least) with the teen’s circadian rhythms and biological clock.
What Can be Done?
Stanford University School of Medicine suggested a path for the rebellious future adults. The method provided the teens with an extra 43 minutes of sleep every night, by convincing them to go to sleep with 50 minutes earlier. It is a natural impulse to stay awake when we should be sleeping. However, teens are a more vulnerable group that easily engage in technology, pushing their bedtime hours to extremes.
The researchers tried to modify their circadian timing and “move their brains to Denver while they’re living in California.”
The first step was setting a device to emit a bright, broad-spectrum white light in their bedroom sending flashes for no more than 3-milliseconds. The light therapy didn’t wake up the 72 participants right away. They did feel a little more tired in the morning. However, the device was meant to adjust their circadian cycle for the school early hours.
The treatment can also give a helping hand to people that are moving abroad and need to reset their biological clock.
The light mechanism is not as complicated as it sounds. It has an integrated timer. It needs to be placed in the bedroom and turned on.
Scientists Added This
The four weeks follow-up revealed that no matter how tired they were, the teens were not ready to change their bedtime. In order to convince them, scientists adopted cognitive behavioral therapy for the study. The involved teens went once a week to a session of CBT where they talked about their stress triggers, highschool problems, etc., being advised to improve their sleep to handle better the nerve-racking situations.
These two combined, CBT and light therapy, yields positive results although all the odds technology musters.