Monday December 9, 2019

Smartphones Do Not Damage Mental Health Of Adolescents

Spending time on phone not so bad for mental health

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For the mental health study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 teenagers (aged between 10 and 15 years). Pixabay

In contrast to generally held views about the negative impact of using smartphones, researchers have found that teenagers spending time on their phones and online is not that bad for mental health.

“Contrary to the common belief that smartphones and social media are damaging adolescents’ mental health, we don’t see much support for the idea that time spent on phones and online is associated with increased risk for mental health problems,” said Michaeline Jensen, Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina.

For the study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 teenagers (aged between 10 and 15 years). The researchers collected reports of mental health symptoms from the adolescents three times a day and also reported on their daily technology usage each night.

They analysed whether youth who engaged more with digital technologies were more likely to experience mental health symptoms but they found that increased digital technology use was not related to worse mental health.

Researchers said that teenagers who reported sending more text messages reported feeling better (less depressed) than kids who were less frequent texters. Advising against excessive use of technology, experts emphasised on its responsible use.

According to Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Fortis Mental Health Programme in Noida, life for a young person needs to be well balanced with indoor and outdoor activities, and the studying time should be also balanced with the time to have fun.

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The researchers collected reports of mental health symptoms from the adolescents three times a day and also reported on their daily technology usage each night. Pixabay

“TV, Internet, online games, social media needs to be used in limit and never at cost of peer interaction, family time, sports and studies. The key is to find the right balance. Using phones to connect with friends is good but students should also be well compensated with in-person interactions,” he told IANS.

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“Social media can be used positively to express views, choices and bring positivity. At the same time, children should be empowered with skills to deal with social media effectively,” he added. Adults need to be good role models and help shape the overall lifestyle balance for children.

“Content is as important as the user mindset and his environment to create a pathological condition called ‘internet addiction’,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant, at Jaypee Hospital, told IANS. (IANS)

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Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

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Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

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Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

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Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)