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Sleep. 2019 Jun 8. pii: zsz125. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz125. [Epub ahead of print]

Reducing the use of screen electronic devices in the evening is associated with improved sleep and daytime vigilance in adolescents.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Swiss Center for Affective Science, Geneva, Switzerland.
Center for Sleep Medicine, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland.
Faculty of Psychology, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Swiss Distance Learning University, Switzerland; Swiss National Center of Competence in Research LIVES-overcoming vulnerability: life course perspectives, Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland.
Bioscope, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Primary care unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Unité Santé Jeunes, Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.


The use of screen electronic devices in the evening negatively affects sleep. Yet, sleep is known to be essential for brain maturation and a key factor for good academic performance, and thus is particularly critical during childhood and adolescence. Although previous studies reported associations between screen time and sleep impairment, their causal relationship in adolescents remains unclear. Using actigraphy and daily questionnaires in a large sample of students (12 to 19 years old), we assessed screen time in the evening and sleep habits over 1 month. This included a 2 week baseline phase, followed by a 40 min sleep education workshop and a 2 week interventional phase, in which participants were asked to stop using screen devices after 9 pm during school nights. During the interventional phase, we found that the reduction of screen time after 9 pm correlated with earlier sleep onset time and increased total sleep duration. The latter led to improved daytime vigilance. These findings provide evidence that restricting screen use in the evening represents a valid and promising approach for improving sleep duration in adolescents, with potential implications for daytime functioning and health.


actigraphy; adolescents; behavior; melatonin; pediatrics; public health; screen electronic devices; vigilance


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