Sleepy teens may have technology to blame

Despite years of warnings about the risks of insufficient sleep — including poor school performance, obesity and, as presented in June at an annual meeting of sleep researchers, links to depression — teens and their parents say adolescent exhaustion remains a fact of life.

And the best parents can do is help balance their teens’ need for sleep with their need to keep up with today’s technology, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.

Scientists studying teen sleep deprivation have several theories about why exposure to technology cuts into rest.

Some suggest that the media simply take the place of sleep and exercise. Others point to the arousing content of TV, video games and music as a sleep deterrent. Increased caffeine use could be a factor. And a more controversial hypothesis is that bright lights from the screens trick teenage bodies into delaying the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that helps trigger sleep at night.

Still others believe it is the use of multiple technological devices at once that keeps teens alert past bedtime.

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