Some sleep researchers think today's teens are loading up on "junk sleep" — the sleep equivalent of junk food — because they sleep with so many distracting devices: cell phones tucked under their pillows, hand-held computer games on the bedside table, TVs or music playing in the background.
"We have an epidemic of obesity, and we have an epidemic of junk sleep," said Dr. Morris Bird, head of Florida Hospital's Center for Sleep Disorders. "With our 24-hour days, the availability of all these things — all of these things are like a big apple pie that is sitting in front of them — and they can't resist."
—Linda Shrieves, "Bedside tech devices cause 'junk sleep' that leaves kids in a funk, experts say," Orlando Sentinel, December 9, 2007
"It's my gateway to the world. It's always on," said Alex, of Hampden Township, Pa. "I've been sleeping with this stuff on my whole life since I was 8 or 9, ever since I was old enough to make macaroni and cheese."
All together, the seventh-grader owns five electronic gadgets, including a camera, laptop and iPod.
Researchers fear an entire generation is suffering from the effects of this "junk sleep," disrupted sleep blamed on electronic devices, whether it be a computer game played into the wee hours or a cell phone tucked under a pillow.
—Sue Gleiter, "Ever-present electronic devices disrupting teens' sleep," The Star-Ledger, February 26, 2008
Almost one in three are surviving on as little as four hours a night and are going to school exhausted, it said.
The survey for the Sleep Council revealed that "junk sleep" was now a major problem for Britain's teens.
—'Expert's warning as young go short on sleep," Yorkshire Post, August 28, 2007
While sleep researchers have been able to associate other human deep-sleep modes with dreaming, learning and growth-hormone release, they have never been able to find any function for this junk, or filler, sleep.
—Stephen Strauss, "Junk sleep proves to be value-added," The Globe and Mail, December 10, 1994
social jet lag