According to a recent study out of King’s College London, nearly 40% of their students between the ages of 18 and 30 were found to be addicted to their smartphones, which the lead author said is consistent with smartphone addiction problems among young adults around the globe. High usage is directly correlated with poor sleep quality, especially when a mobile device is used within an hour of bedtime – the LED spectrum can suppress an individual’s melatonin levels and disrupt their natural circadian rhythm.
The pandemic likely has exacerbated this issue, as people have been continually searching for entertainment, and smartphones are often the first device they grab. In fact, Interpret recently reported that mobile devices have become the preferred platform for Gen Z individuals to watch video. Moreover, gaming continues to be one of the most popular uses for smartphones and tablets, and there is an endless supply of free or inexpensive apps to try across Google Play and the App Store.
This can pose serious problems for avid mobile gamers. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that 38% of mobile gamers who play 10 or more hours each week report experiencing poor quality sleep, while about one quarter of mobile gamers playing 6-10 hours weekly indicate the same problem. This is compounded by the fact that many mobile games are designed with gameplay mechanics that incentivize continued play – it’s hard to put the phone down when you’re just minutes away from unlocking that next item! Sleep deprivation can have serious health consequences, including weight gain, a weakened immune system, memory problems, and more. Smartphone users are advised to use a blue light filter in the evening and to avoid bringing their phone to the bedroom – a regular alarm clock can be used instead.