Study reveals kids are waking up in the middle of the night to check their phone notifications
| Last updated
De Montfort University in Leicester, which surveyed 60 children aged 10 from schools in the inner city, found that 12.5 per cent of kids were voluntarily waking themselves up to check their phones.
It was also found that, on average, children were getting 8.7 hours of sleep a night, which is less than the recommended nine to 11 hours for their age.
That means this midnight doom scrolling equals losing one night’s sleep every week.
Psychology lecturer Dr Shaw, who led the research project, said via a press release: “Primary school children should be getting nine to 11 hours per night. Even if you get just one hour less, it’s the equivalent of one night’s sleep lost per week. So, it does add up.”
According to Dr Shaw, ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) is the leading cause of children checking their phones in the middle of the night.
He said: “The fear of missing out, which is driven by social media, is directly affecting their sleep.
"They want to know what their friends are doing, and if you’re not online when something is happening, it means you’re not taking part in it.”
However, the heavy usage of social media can also lead to a vicious cycle of anxiety whereby it becomes increasingly more challenging for youngens to put down their phones.
He said: “And it can be a feedback loop. If you are anxious you are more likely to be on social media, you are more anxious as a result of that.
"And you’re looking at something, that's stimulating and delaying sleep.”
Dr Shaw continued: “It’s important to establish sleep routines. I get off my phone an hour before bedtime. If I do have to go on it, I’ve got a blue-light filter.”
Dr Max Davie from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health advises children and teenagers to put down their screens at least an hour before bedtime to ensure sleep cycles aren't disrupted.
He told BBC News: "We recommend that young people stay off all screens for at least an hour before bed so their brains have time to wind down.
"Lack of sleep can have a significant negative impact not only on young people's wellbeing, but on their relationships with family and friends and in terms of reaching their full potential at school."