She's still struggling to get her son to sleep through ... and he's 17.

Research shows that the rate of sleep disorders among teens has nearly doubled since 2013. Experts say social media and phone use is significantly to blame.

For parents at their wits’ end trying to sleep-train babies and toddlers, Clair Lyons’ story is a cautionary tale. Her son, aged 17, is still not sleeping through. 

The UK-based mum of three has tried everything: from massage and pillow sprays, to essential oils and an anxiety blanket. But “he finds it hard to calm down.”

Lyons happens to work at a sleep clinic, so she’s more aware of most of the impact of device use on children’s sleep, and has instituted a strict bedtime routine.

“I have always restricted his iPad and TV use,” she told The Guardian, “and even now as a teenager I make sure his phone is out of the bedroom and he does not have use of it - or his iPad - at least for an hour before going to bed.”

shutterstock_1576343860Sleep deprivation has been shown to make kids more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, impulsive behaviour and impaired thinking

It’s a message today’s parents urgently need to hear. According to new data from NHS Digital, England’s information and technology partner to the national healthcare system, hospital admissions for sleep disorder among under 16s rose by 42%.

“It’s amazing how many of my children’s school friends are allowed to play on their phones at night,” says Lyons. “They are getting four hours’ sleep and then cannot get up for school in the morning.”

The mental health implications of sleep deprivation are ominous, note experts, especially the link to anxiety in children - which in itself has been linked to social media overuse and 24/7 connectivity.

A recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry showed sleep duration among children aged 9 to 11 influences “elements of mental health including depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior and cognitive performance,” according to a report by the American Journal of Managed Care.

I’m increasingly seeing more and more young children sent to bed with a screen to help them fall asleep, when it is in fact disrupting their sleep and making falling asleep more difficult.”


The research found that the “behaviour problems” score for kids who had less than 7 hours’ sleep was 53% higher on average, and their cognitive (or thinking) score 7.8% lower than kids who’d had 9-11 hours’ sleep.

The role of device use in interrupting, delaying and/or eroding the quality of children’s sleep has been well established. 

Notes Rachel Taylor, the founder of the Sleep Sanctuary, “The blue light emitted from phone, tablet, computer and TV screens disrupts natural melatonin production, which inhibits sleep.

"I’m increasingly seeing more and more young children sent to bed with a screen to help them fall asleep, when it is in fact disrupting their sleep and making falling asleep more difficult.”

Family Zone cyber experts agree that keeping bedrooms tech-free - and switching off all screens an hour before bedtime - are the two most important rules for protecting your child’s healthful sleep.

Family Zone's strong, flexible parental controls make it easy to manage screen-time and protect your child's sleep.

Start your free trial today, and create a home where digital children thrive.



Tell me more!

Topics: Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, online safety, anxiety, sleep deprivation

    Try Family Zone for FREE

    Sign up now to try Family Zone for 1 month, totally free of charge.

    Free Trial
    Subscribe to our newsletter
    Follow us on social media
    Popular posts
    Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | roblox
    Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids
    Parental Controls | Screen time | Mobile Apps | | Social Media | tiktok | child development | self-harm | sexualisation
    One mum's jaw-dropping journey through TikTok
    Parental Controls | online gaming | Social Media | primary school | krunker
    Krunker has landed - and it's got our kids in the crosshairs
    Parental Controls | Screen time | online gaming | roblox | sleep
    Family Zone: Now blocking Roblox with a single click
    Parental Controls | Screen time | Mobile Apps | online safety | cyberbullying | privacy | Houseparty | pornbombing | data mining
    "Houseparty" is off the hook right now: What parents need to know
    Parental Controls | Screen time | teens on social media | wellbeing | dating app
    Swipe right for trouble: Six teen dating apps parents need to know about

    Recent posts

    TikTok: Dangerous by design

    “TikTok can’t be fixed. Its problems lie in its very conception and the culture behind it. My advice is to avoid it like the plague. Don’t ...

    "Go get coronavirus and die": How cyberbullying has mutated, and what you can do about it

    Cyberbullying has bloomed like an out-of-control virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. But in this case, handwashing - or for that matter ...

    Many parents are too embarrassed to talk about it ...

    We know these things can happen when kids go online. But not our kids. So let's just say "We heard about a child who ..."

    Five easy ways to make screen-time healthier and more satisfying

    It's not just how much screen-time we use. It's the way we use it.