Smartphone addiction leads to poor sleep quality, according to a new study.

Published Tuesday in Frontiers of Psychiatry, the study looks at the smartphone use of 1,043 students between the ages of 18 and 30 at King’s College London. Students were asked to complete two questionnaires on sleep quality and smartphone usage, both in person and online.

Nearly 40% of students qualified as “addicted” to smartphones, the study found. Researchers used a 10-question scale that was made to assess smartphone addiction in children.

“Our estimated prevalence is consistent with other reported studies in young adult populations globally, which are in the range of 30–45%,” lead author and King’s College medical student Sei Yon Sohn and her coauthors wrote in the study.

“Later time of use was also significantly associated with smartphone addiction, with use after 1 a.m. conferring a 3-fold increased risk,” the authors wrote.

There was also a correlation between students who reported using cell phones at a high rate and also reported poor sleep quality, according to the study. The study’s findings are in line with previous studies which have found that overuse of smartphones before bed can be linked to trouble falling asleep, reduced sleep duration and daytime tiredness.

Smartphones most likely affect sleep quality when used close to bedtime because they have been shown to delay circadian rhythm, which is the body’s normal sleep-and-awake clock.

“In fact, the No. 1 rule is “no computers, cell phones, and PDAs in bed and at least one hour prior to bed time,” Dr. Vsevolod Polotsky, who directs sleep basic research in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told CNN in a recent interview.

That’s because “any LED spectrum light source may further suppress melatonin levels,” Polotsky said. Melatonin, often referred to as a the sleep hormone, is secreted in a daily 24-hour circadian rhythm. People sleep better during the night when levels peak.

Ways to fight cell phone addiction and catch some zzz’s

Are you addicted? Here’s a quiz you can take to help decide.

Schedule timeouts. First, turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as when you are attending meetings, having dinner, playing with your kids and of course, driving.

Ban apps from mobile devices. Remove social media apps, like Facebook and Twitter, from your phone, and only check in from your laptop. Try to wean yourself to 15-minute intervals at set times of the day when it won’t affect work or family life.

Go gray scale. Experts suggest going black and whitePretty colors are engaging, while gray is boring.

Substitute. Try to replace your smart device time with healthier activities such as meditating or interacting with real people.

Improve sleep. Don’t bring your cell phone and its harmful blue light to bed. Use an old-fashioned alarm to wake you.



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