Sunday November 05, 2017

Are smartphones keeping your kids... and you awake at night?

(Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Listen to Full Episode 1:52:59

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: running on empty 

A new study suggests teenagers are dangerously sleep-deprived because they can't put down their smartphones at night. Around forty percent of teens get less than seven hours a sleep each night, say the researchers... and it keeps getting worse... year after year. The evidence points to social media and consumption of online news as the culprits.

It's not only teens. Maybe you've got a toddler, who adores that Elmo Loves 123s app. Funny how she quiets down, giving you time to wash dishes and put that load of laundry in. But how hard is it to take the phone away at bedtime?

Duncan McCue

Host of Cross Country Checkup, Duncan McCue.

And what about you -- the parent? Find yourself drawn to a little late-night texting? An early morning email - before you're out of your jammies? How much sleep are you getting? You just got an extra hour last night but that won't solve the problem.  More than a quarter of Canadians get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. Lots of reasons for that, but medical experts say lack of sleep is harming our health and our economy.

We've been cheating ourselves of sleep, since electricity was invented. But smart phones seem to make it even easier. Is sleep deprivation becoming epidemic? Or are phones helping teens stay more connected... and engaged than any generation before? Are your kids getting enough sleep? Are you? Are we all running on empty?

Our question this week: Are smartphones keeping your kids... and you awake at night?


Dr. Rachel Morehouse
Professor of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and Medical Director of the Atlantic Sleep Centre 

Tamara Shepherd
Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Calgary

Jean Twenge
Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and author of more than 140 scientific publications and books including most recently iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood

Paolo Granata
Visiting Professor, Book and Media Studies program at St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto

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