The incidences of sleep deprivation and other mental challenges among the youths have been on the increase. Recent studies have shown that a large number of American teens suffer from sleep deprivation problems as well as the related challenges. It is important to recognize that sleep is a biological need and assists in the restoration and maintenance of the vital processes. Sleep experts argue that as a natural process, it varies by age and condition. Majority of the teenagers sleep less than the recommended nine hours. In the same way, the insufficient productivity can have a tremendous impact on the health and productivity throughout the day. Among the youths, the short patterns of sleep and low quality sleep has been labeled as one of the primary causes of the mental illnesses and disorders, behavioral problems and the range of diseases. Various studies, such as Fobian, Avis & Schwebel (9) have shown that smartphone has a profound impact on the quality of sleep that individuals have, as well as the causing other mental disorder. It is, however, undeniable to mention that availability of the smartphones has the pattern of the adolescent way of life tremendously with a particular influence on the electronic media consumption. It has been possible through improving access to the wireless internet through the smartphones has enhanced communication among the peers without the charge as well as utilizing the Internet-based messenger applications such as the Whatsapp. Other research has whether or not the excessive smartphone use leads to sleep deprivation and other mental health disorders in teens.
Smartphone and Sleep Deprivation
Fundamentally, the amount of time spent on screens appears to show the correlation between the levels of happiness among the teens. In a given study, teens who spent more time than the average on the smartphone, as well as the screen activities, are more likely to have a reduced level of happiness compared to their counterparts who spent less or average time on the screen. The most significant finding of this study is that the amount of time spent on-screen activities affects the level of teenager happiness (Twenge 1). In their study, Fobian, Avis & Schwebel (9) found that the media use was considerably associated with the three aspects of the adolescent sleep health. These aspects included the sleep efficiency, sleep onset, and the sleep offset. In a broader note, the researchers found that the smartphones and their related variables accounted for about 21 percent of the sleep variability and 33 percent in the variability of the sleep onset. The researchers further found that the self-report of the sleep duration, onset, and the offset and the daytime sleep from the individuals helped in concluding while establishing such relationship (Fobian, Avis & Schwebel 9).
In another study, the increased texting through the use of smartphones after getting into bed was associated with late onset of sleep (Bryant and Rebecca 116). It is as a result of the smartphone addiction that tremendously disrupts sleep. Under these circumstances, the adolescents would often wake up in the middle of the night and check or use their phones. A representative survey of the United States population revealed that 18 percent of the youths aged between 13 and 18 years wake up because of the text messages after the sleep onset at least five times per week (De Choudhury 2). In comparison, this number is tremendously higher for the individuals aged between 30 and 45 years, who showed 10 percent of sleep deprivation. In Belgium, similar rates of being woken up by the incoming text messages and calls have after lights out have been reported by psychologists. The odds of being tired during the day strongly heightened with the use of the smartphone after the lights were put on. The day-time sleepiness were other impacts reported as a result.
Fundamentally, the alerting effects of the bright screens associated with the smartphone technology have been shown to cause a significant disruption of sleep among the adolescent. The circadian rhythm generated by the phones provides the organization for the timing of awake and sleep patterns (Fobian, Avis & Schwebel 9). These patterns oscillate over a given period of about 24 hours and are moderated by light. With a particular focus, as the sun sets and becomes darker outside, the pineal gland secretes melatonin that reduces the alertness and the signal sleep. However, the excessive exposure to the self-luminous smartphones suppresses the level of melatonin. In this case, therefore, it prolongs the onset of the sleep when it takes place just before the bedtime. It also delays the circadian clock, suppresses melatonin and reduces the morning alertness (Oosthoek 1). The various aural notifications from the smartphones such as email signals, social media alerts, and the text messages affect the adolescents' sleep that includes efficiency, through awakening them throughout the night.
Similar findings were reported by the study conducted by Schweizer et al. (2017). In their study, the researchers found that two central mechanisms aided the explanation regarding the impacts of sleep disturbance. According to the Schweizer et al., the media use in the evenings rapidly increased the mental, emotional as well as the psychological arousal. All these were associated with smartphone activities such as playing games or the social inte5rcations through the social networking systems that include Facebook, and Whatsapp among others. On the one hand, therefore, the adolescent and their parents should, therefore, know about the dangers of the smartphones concerning sleep deprivation. On the other hand, the healthcare professionals should screen any report of tiredness or sleep problems associated with sleep problems.
Smartphone and Mental Health Disorders
The excessive use of the smartphone has been associated with stress, which ultimately leads to the anxiety disorder. A growing body of research shows that the more teens look to their phones, the more likely they can develop anxiety that centers on their smartphone use. This effect is known as the positive feedback loop. Ideally, the constant use of phones, in this case, makes instill anxiousness into the teen, especially when it comes to the need of a continuous look at the phone or the need to communicate and send messages to peers. In fact, the only way to alleviate one from the anxiousness is through looking at their smartphone. There is evidence supporting the claim that the excessive use of the mobile phone leads to the deterioration of health. Specifically, studies by the scientists from Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University have shown that the excessive use of smartphone causes insomnia. The primary cause of the disorder, in this case, resulted from the radiation received by the user. Excessive use of smartphone generates the massive wireless signals, thus affecting the composition of sleep that are believed to be essential for recovery from daily wear and tear.
The smartphone usage has further been linked to the Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (Fobian, Avis & Schwebel). Psychologically, this mental health disorder is caused by an individual's inability to control worry. People with the GAD tremendously worry about the issues in their lives and such matters may include family, work, and money. Research shows that this level of stress can contribute to the physical symptoms such as the headaches and the stomach aches (Lemola 5). Notably, the social anxiety relates to worry regarding the manner in which other individuals will perceive us. It is based on the fact that people with the social anxiety demonstrate fear when it comes to adverse judgment from other people. As part of their remedy, they will struggle to function within the social situations, and the use of smartphone constitute the primary mechanism of alleviating this problem. It is, however, important to note that the GAD or the social anxiety may not be directly associated with the cell-phone addiction symptoms. However, the direct impact, in this case, is caused by the excessive use of these kinds of phones. In the most occasion, the teens will turn to their smartphones to distract themselves from worry, whether general or social. When there is bad news, for example, the teens would first turn to their phones and perhaps use the social media platforms to pass judgments on other people.
Another research has linked the excessive use of smartphones to the reduced educational attainments among the youths in the United States. Bryant and Rebecca (116) mention that the inability to sleep at night due to the use of smartphone propelled youths towards compensating such loss while in class. To re3duce the distractibility, the teachers banned the smartphones from the classrooms thus taking away any external distraction. While this approach seemed possibly successful, it was not always applicable as the internal distractors remained. On a broader note, taking away the smartphone from the students after the addiction heightened other effects such as fear. After 10 minutes, both the moderate and high users of the phones demonstrated in increased anxiety, with the thoughts of knowing that they would get back their devices within a short time. The fear of missing it, the fear of having calls and texts not responded and the inability to communicate with the peer through other devices was a significant cause of stress, that could build up to depression and other related mental health disorders.
Sleep deprivation and mental disorders have been further linked to the depression that emanates from the smartphone activities and usage. Individually, the use of smartphones among the teens has contributed to the habits such as the multitasking, which has led to sleep disturbance and deprivation (Nathan and Jamie 4). The frequent mobile use was associated with current stress, sleep disturbances and the symptoms of depression among the young adults and women. In the study, adolescent reported a 24-hour exposure to the social media utilization through the smartphones. Various factors influenced the increase in the social media platform that resulted in multitasking. Firstly, there has been a considerable cultural shift over time, as teens have been made to believe that the technology today is more economical, accessible and robust and therefore increases the consumption (Tamura 7). Majority of the teenagers, therefore, opt to buy the smartphone that they can use in the numerous activities such calling, texting and sending the internet-based messages to peers. Further, the availability and accessibility of the television shows and movies through various devices such as the smartphone has also increased multitasking on the part of the teens has further led to tiredness, exhaustion, and the anxiousness of watching or having to watch such shows. This leads to depression, which later leads to various mental health disorders.
Smartphone use has been associated with the Phantom vibration syndrome. Fundamentally, this refers to the perception that one's phone is vibrating or ringing when it is not ringing. Psychologists agree that this phenomenon is not a syndrome, but is better characterized as a tactile hallucination based on the fact that the brain perceives a sensation that is generally not present. The chemical imbalance in the brain has also emerged and confirmed the role that smartphone plays in the deprivation of sleep on individuals. Low ratio levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is associated with the smartphone addiction among the teens (Nathan and Jamie 4). The GABA is the chief sleep inhibitory neurotransmitter found within the mammalian central nervous systems.
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