COVID-19 negatively affects teens’ sleep schedules

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Due to COVID-19, many teenagers have been staying up really late at night on their electronic devices.

Emili Cruz Sosa, Yearbook Section Editor

Ever since the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing being enforced throughout the world, many teens have had their entire day-to-day schedules altered; part of this has to do with them no longer having to attend school physically. This and many other factors have led to their sleep schedules also changing, and not for the better.

Before this outbreak, teens were able to attend school on campus, go on walks around the neighborhood, go to the gym and do many other outside activities. Now that teens are spending much of their time at home, one of the only sources of entertainment that they have available is technological devices. 

Teens have continued school through remote learning which requires hours of computer usage. This can lead to a variety of problems, including stress. Technical issues such as an unstable internet connection or computers not working have affected remote learning, causing students to feel stressed. Many teens attending school are also constantly worried about tests, homework and deadlines for assignments, which can lead to them losing hours of sleep. 

Unfortunately, domestic violence is an issue that also affects certain teens, also altering the amount of sleep they are receiving. Due to the pandemic, doctors have seen an increase in violence at home. In Los Angeles, authorities have seen a drop in reports of domestic calls, and police predict that the reason why is because victims are stuck with their abusers, therefore being unable to call. According to observations held in clinics, sleep problems are an effect of constant aggression and violence. 

Teens’ cell phone usage has increased during the pandemic since some are using them to study from home and others are using them as their only source of entertainment — through social media. Even before the pandemic, social media has been the cause of many teens not only having depression and anxiety, but also losing sleep quality. 

TikTok, a popular video-content creating app, is one of the many social media apps that has increased in usage numbers due to the pandemic. As teens are becoming increasingly bored at home, they watch TikTok videos as a way to get them through these difficult times. Although TikTok is entertaining, it can be too entertaining at times, as teens lose track of time and end up staying up too late. 

Netflix is a show-streaming service that has also caught the eye of many teens during the pandemic. According to AT&T, Netflix has reached its all-time highest number of users because many are binge-watching shows to cope with social distancing, including many teens. Too much binge-watching can eventually lead to an increase in teens having insomnia. 

With self-isolation being put in place due to COVID-19, many teenagers’ sleep schedules are being affected negatively, affecting not only their performance in school, but also their mental health.

Although sleeping can be difficult, especially during this time, here are some tips that may help some teens get better sleep:

  • Have a sleep schedule.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Exercising every day can also help with better sleep.
  • Limit how much screen time one uses.
  • Clear your mind by jotting down any ideas one has down in a journal.

Teens can adopt some of these techniques to help normalize their sleeping schedule, which will benefit not only their health, but the energy they have throughout the day.