New research says teens who habitually use their smartphones before they go to bed have higher BMI scores and they don’t get quality sleep. Researchers recommend parents encourage their children to reduce the use of smartphones and other devices prior to going to bed. A report by Science Daily presented a lot of the facts used in this article.

The research was conducted by Penn State College of Medicine students and doctors. The researchers had the parents of 274 children, between the ages of eight and 17, observe and report on their children’s pre-bedtime activities, but primarily about their sleep and technology habits.

The parents also differentiated between the types of technology their kids used, specifying if they used a smartphone, computer, tablet, TV, etc.

The results were published in the journal, Global Pediatric Health.

Smartphones and their link to weight gain

Smartphones have been blamed for a lot of disruption in people’s lives, but it appears they might be major contributors to the weight gain so many adolescents suffer from today.

Researchers found children who used the smartphones before bedtime not only had higher BMI scores, but they also reported being more tired in the morning. Morning fatigue is also a risk factor for higher BMI scores.

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. This is a number calculated by dividing the weight of a person, in kilograms, by their height in meters squared.

The resulting score is the BMI score. The higher the score, the more a person is considered obese. There are numerous free online calculators people can use to determine their own BMI. Many of the calculators will even do the conversion from the standard (pounds, inches, etc.) to metric measurements.

Additionally, smartphone users have a higher risk of being overweight than other forms of electronic entertainment.

Kids who use TV or computers before going to bed sleep about half an hour less than people who don’t use devices before bed.

However, kids who used smartphones before bed reported losing about an hour of sleep.

Another issue can arise when teenagers use multiple devices prior to bed or being awoken by a smartphone. Often the teen will communicate or play games in the middle of the night instead of going back to sleep.

This is what scientists say parents should do

The finding of the study fit into the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for electronic devices. The association recommends parents set guidelines with their children about when and where they can use their phones. These recommendations include limiting the access kids have to their phones and even leaving the phone in another part of the house at night.

The association has even developed an online media plan app. It allows parents to set limits on their children for when, where, and how long they have access to their smartphones and other electronic devices, including TV.