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Electronic devices disturb sleep

Extensive use of electronic devices could be causing sleep irregularities among teenagers a recent study has shown.

A study of more than 10,000 teenagers published in BMJ Open reports that even two hours of screen time after school was linked to delayed and shorter sleep.

Almost all the teens said they used the devices shortly before going to bed and many said they often got fewer than five hours sleep a night.

When daytime screen use totalled four or more hours, teens had a 49% greater risk of taking longer than an hour to fall asleep.

Staring at an illuminated screen at bedtime could send the wrong signals to our brain, disrupting our natural body clock making us more alert, suggests the study's researcher Dr Mari Hysing and colleagues at Uni Research Health, Bergen.

Dr Hysing said findings had implications for the wider population as so many people use these devices.

"We know that sufficient sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. Logging off may be one important step toward securing a good night's sleep."