Adolescents Living the 24/7 Lifestyle

Calamaro, C. J., Mason, T. B. A., & Ratcliffe, S. J. (2009). Adolescents living the 24/7 lifestyle: Effects of caffeine and technology on sleep duration and daytime functioning Pediatrics, 123(6), 1005-1010.

Calamaro, Mason, and Ratcliffe (2009) investigated the association between technology use, caffeine intake, and sleep behaviors in adolescents. The authors noted that sleep duration has decreased markedly for adolescents over the past 40 years and that insufficient sleep in that age group has been linked to a variety of psychological and physical health problems, ranging from allergies and obesity to mood disorders. Use of technology may interfere with sleep simply by shortening time available for sleep. The brightness of screens and monitors may also decrease melatonin release thereby delaying sleep onset. The authors administered a questionnaire to 100 adolescents, aged 12 to 18 from schools in suburban Philadelphia. Measures assessed sleep patterns, caffeine intake, technology use (e.g., television, Internet, video games, texting), daytime behaviors, and demographic variables. Results showed that most of the participants used some form of technology in the evenings, averaging four different technology activities (multitasking) after 9:00 pm. Eighty-five percent reported consuming caffeine; 75% after school hours or in the evening. As hypothesized, shorter sleep duration was associated with greater technology use and multitasking. In addition, multitasking was positively related to caffeine consumption. Lack of sleep led to consequences for daytime functioning. Thirty-three percent of the participants reported falling asleep during school. Caffeine consumption was 76% higher among these participants. Evening technology multitasking was also significantly related to falling asleep in school. The authors cautioned that sleep deprivation may contribute to automobile accidents among this already at risk demographic. They suggested that energy-drink manufacturers who market to adolescents consider developing an educational component dealing with the effects of ingesting large quantities of caffeine.

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