select search filters
roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

expert reaction to study looking at media use before bed and sleep

A study published in Journal of Sleep Research looks at the impact of media use before bed on sleep.


Prof Pete Etchells, Professor of Psychology and Science Communication, Bath Spa University, said:

“This is a fascinating study that adds to a growing body of research which is taking issues around the impact of digital technology use with the complexity that they deserve. The received wisdom about the link between screens and sleep is that, generally, they are not good bedfellows – numerous studies suggest that screen-based activities before bedtime have a detrimental impact on sleep. However such studies are largely correlational in nature, and tend to rely on self-report measures of both sleep amount/quality and digital technology use. This study improves on this by using a more objective, EEG-based measure of sleep. While the study still replies on self-reporting media consumption, this is done in a much more ‘in the moment’ way, potentially mitigating the effects of poor recall. The findings are complex. On the one hand, the study suggests that for certain types of use (e.g. in the hour before bedtime, while you’re in bed, and if you’re not multitasking), screen-based media consumption doesn’t result in less sleep – much the opposite in fact. On the other, for situations where people were using screen-based media for much longer periods of time, there is an association with later bedtimes and less sleep overall. The take-home message here is that the relationship between screen-based media use and sleep isn’t a simple one, and we’re only really just getting to grips with understanding it. This study is a good initial step in that journey.”



‘The complicated impact of media use before bed on sleep: Results from a combination of objective EEG sleep measurement and media diaries’ by Morgan E. Ellithorpe et al. was published in Journal of Sleep Research at  UK time on 5:01 Wednesday 9 February.

DOI: 10.1111/jsr.13551



Declared interests

Prof Pete Etchells: “I am the author of Lost in a Good Game: Why We Play Games and What They Can Do For Us.”

in this section

filter RoundUps by year

search by tag