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News briefs

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Texting in the dark affects teens’ sleep patterns

A study published in the Journal of Child Neurology, and reported by ScienceDaily, has linked “nighttime instant messaging habits of American teenagers to sleep health and school performance”. The researchers distributed surveys to three New Jersey high schools and evaluated the 1537 responses contrasting grades, sexes, messaging duration and whether the texting occurred before or after lights out. They found that “students who turned off their devices or who messaged for less than 30 minutes after lights out performed significantly better in school than those who messaged for more than 30 minutes after lights out”. “Students who texted longer in the dark also slept fewer hours and were sleepier during the day than those who stopped messaging when they went to bed. Texting before lights out did not affect academic performance,” the study found. “The effects of ‘blue light’ emitted from smartphones and tablets are intensified when viewed in a dark room. This short wavelength light can have a strong impact on daytime sleepiness symptoms since it can delay melatonin release, making it more difficult to fall asleep — even when seen through closed eyelids.”

Is it time to show everyone your data?

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has proposed that…