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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29-32

Impact of screen time on sleep quality

1 Associate Professor, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Tutor / Clinical Instructor, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
3 BSc nursing, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission08-Feb-2021
Date of Decision16-Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance22-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Alwin Issac
College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar - 751 019, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iopn.iopn_15_21

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Background: Technology that years ago we could only dream of or read in science fiction novels, which we then actually created with much hope in their power of connecting people, has become a tool of gratification. To many, smart phone is an eye opener, their first alarm clock, newspaper, and stress buster. The scariest part about smart phone addiction is that it can affect our physical and mental health, our relationships, and productivity. Considering the growing use of smart phone by the youth and its impact on sleep, this study was undertaken to assess the relationship between Smart phone screen time and sleep quality. Materials and Methods: A quantitative approach with cross-sectional design was adopted for the study. An application named “Quality time” was used to assess the screen time among samples. Pittsburgh sleep quality index was used to appraise the duration of sleep. Results: The study establishes that there was a significant negative correlation between smart phone screen time and sleep duration (ρ = −0.61 P < 0.001) Conclusion: Availability of diverse sort of electronic media engages the students more on screen, which adversely affects their sleeping quality and pattern. Although the development of technology is a boon, findings of the study depict that greater the screen time, poorer the quality of the sleep.

Keywords: College students, gadget, mobile phone, social network, technology, university students

How to cite this article:
Baby RS, Issac A, Vasudev A, Sabu DK, Gopika T S, Pal M, Sahu R. Impact of screen time on sleep quality. Indian J Psy Nsg 2021;18:29-32

How to cite this URL:
Baby RS, Issac A, Vasudev A, Sabu DK, Gopika T S, Pal M, Sahu R. Impact of screen time on sleep quality. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 May 28];18:29-32. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2021/18/1/29/318664

  Introduction Top

Digital landscape is germinating swiftly, than inquiry on the consequence of technology in the life of an individual. Although the development of technology is a boon, as it helped curb communication barriers and bridge the gap between folks all over the world; it has its own bane. Recent years have witnessed a boom on the handiness and usage of smart phones devices. The ever rising use of smart phone is of a great concern, especially among college students and has raised concerns about student's academic performance, behavioral pattern, emotional problems, poor concentration, etc., to name a few. “Screen time” signifies the time spent on any screen, namely, smart phone, tablet, television, video game, computer, or wearable technology. Tremendous exposure to screen time is strongly associated with myriad ailments and manifold health troubles, namely, overweight and obesity,[1] deviated blood glucose and cholesterol level, piteous scholastic performance, declined social interaction, physically inactive, derailed sleep-wake schedule, and loneliness.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6]

Sleep is a vital, often neglected component of every person's overall health and well-being. Sufficient nap is a biological and psychological requirement and prerequisite to sound cognition, good psychological status, and overall performance. Exposure to luminous light from the electronic devices would hinder sound sleep by altering communication pattern between sleep–wake cycle and the internal clock.[7] Getting exposed to screen light during the night time could elevate alertness, diminish melatonin production, and bring on phase lag in the circadian clock such as lag in sleep time.[8],[9]

There is a dearth of literature exploring the effects of smart phone screen time and sleep quality among college students. This study aimed to detect the relationship between sleep quality and screen time among college students and to compare the screen time and sleep quality between medical and engineering students. The following hypothesis was stated for the present study, i.e., H1 - There is an inverse relationship between screen time and sleep quality.

  Materials and Methods Top

Ethical clearance was obtained from institute ethics committee (IEC/XX/Nursing/2018-19/05. A disproportionate stratified random sampling was used to recruit the samples into the study and comprised 100 medical and 100 engineering students using smart phone from 2 different colleges. Among the participants, those willing to install an application (app) “Quality time” in their smart phone for a month were enrolled and informed consent were obtained from them, as all the participants were above or had completed 18 years of age. Individuals who were on sedatives or sleep medications were not included in the study. Sociodemographic data sheet was used to collect details such as age, gender, religion, place of residence, semester, or year of study and part time job.

A self-administered “Pittsburgh sleep quality index” (PSQI) tool that distinguishes poor from good sleep by grading seven domains: subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbance, use of sleep medication, and day time dysfunction over the last month was used to assess the quality and patterns of sleep. It is a standardized tool with reliability coefficient of 0.84.[10] Scoring of the answers is based on a 0–3 scale, whereby 3 reflect the negative extreme on the Likert scale. The component scores are summed to produce a global score that range from 0 to 21, wherein higher scores indicate poor sleep quality.

The app “Quality time” is an android application which lets us see how much time we spend on our phone by hour, by day, and by week. The app can be freely downloaded from the Google store and was installed in their smart phone. A month later screen time was noted from the app and sleep quality was assessed using PSQI tool. Data were analyzed using SPSS (IBM, Chicago, SPSS Inc. SPSS Statistics 20.0). Pearson correlation coefficient test was used to identify the relationship between smart phone screen time and sleep quality. Mann–Whitney U-test was used to compare the smart phone screen time among medical and engineering students. Level of significance was set at P < 0.05 level.

  Results Top

Demographic characteristics

A total of 200 participants were enrolled in the study. Participants from medical college were in the age of 18–23 years (mean age: 20.4 years), whereas those from engineering college were within the range of 19–24 years (mean age: 20.7 years). Majority of the participants from medical college were males (69%) and from engineering college (68%) were males [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic characteristics

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Relationship between screen time and sleep quality

The average duration of sleep (hours) during the month and average hours of smart phone screen time (hours) for the month were analyzed by Pearson correlation coefficient to detect the relationship between screen time and sleep quality, and the same was plotted on a scatter plot. It was identified that there is a negative correlation (P = −0.61) between screen time and sleep quality [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Relation between screen time and sleep quality

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Screen time between medical and engineering students

Screen time for the month was assessed using the android app “Quality time” installed in their respective smart phone. In engineering college students, it was found that their median screen time was 8 h, which ranged from 3 to 13 h per day, whereas, in medical college students, it was 5.25 h per day that ranged from 1.5 to 15.1 h per day [Table 2].
Table 2: Screen time between medical and engineering students

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Sleep quality between medical and engineering students

Sleep quality of the students was assessed using PSQI tool. It was found that 66% of the students from the engineering college had disturbed sleep, while 43% of the medical college students reported disturbed sleep [Table 3].
Table 3: Sleep quality between medical and engineering students

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  Discussion Top

The main objective of this study was to assess the relationship between screen time and sleep quality among college students. Findings showed that higher the screen time, the poorer the quality of the sleep. Utilization of electronic devices is prevalent during college life and previous studies revealed the negative association of using TV with sleep duration in addition to delay in bed time and wake up time among them.[11] Over use of computer would lead to sleep problems and bed time reduction.[12],[13] In conclusion, using electronic media has been related to sleep reduction and bed time delay, based on a review of literature.[7]

Electronic devices could affect sleep through different mechanisms. Time consuming nature of media use may interfere with normal sleep schedule; since media use usually peaks before bedtime, sleep would be displaced by the media.[14] As a result of availability of various forms of electronic media, people are being engaged in sedentary activities, which in turn could increase the risk of sleep disturbance and insomnia.[15] Obesity as a result of sedentary lifestyle leads to sleep disturbances such as shorter duration of sleep and obese individuals present higher levels of chronic emotional stress than nonobese individuals.[16] Curtailing the screen time or set bedtimes has shown to be guardian factor in preventing depression and suicidal ideation[17] and those succumbed to the detrimental effects of screen time are managed by cognitive behavioral therapy.[18]

The present study also reveals that, among 200 participants of medical and engineering students, engineering students had significant disturbed sleep than medical students. While comparing screen time among medical and engineering students, we found that the smart phone screen time ranged from 1.5 to 15.1 for medical and 3.0–13.5 h per week for engineering students with a median of 5.25 and 8 h per week, respectively. Medical students spending lesser time on screen could be attributed to their syllabus and course requirements or spending more hours in classrooms and laboratories. In addition, professional courses such as engineering and medical bring forth enormous amount of stress on students[19] which also could have a detrimental effect on their sleep and its of no doubt that proper sleep has a cardinal role to crush this stress.[20] Whatever the course be; having a regular sleep wake schedule, sufficient sleeping time, and quality sleep is crucial for desirable maturation.

Implication and contribution

Heightened screen time can have detrimental effect on the sleep quality that could in turn descend attention, concentration, empathy toward the needy, communication skills, and feeling less connected.[21] The findings of the study warrant the need to sensitize the college students on the harmful effects of increased screen time.

  Conclusion Top

Access could be repercussion as well. It is not wise and possible to police the students into compliance; rather they need to be taught on healthy habits and behaviors, through which they could find a balance and set up healthy boundaries with screens and acknowledge when having trouble. Cardinal step toward establishing healthier relationship between kids and technology, almost always involve parents assessing their own screen time pattern. Taper or keep a check on the time spent on screen, find more efficient and creative ways to spent time and refrain from keeping gadgets in bedroom, could be efficient strategies for those willing to cut loose the shackles of heightened screen time.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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