Adolescents’ interactive electronic device use, sleep and mental health: a systematic review of prospective studies



Dibben GO, Martin A, Shore CB, Johnstone A, McMellon C, Palmer V, Pugmire J, Riddell J, Skivington K, Wells V, McDaid L & Simpson SA (2023) Adolescents’ interactive electronic device use, sleep and mental health: a systematic review of prospective studies. Journal of Sleep Research, 32 (5), Art. No.: e13899.

Optimal sleep, both in terms of duration and quality, is important for adolescent health. However, young people's sleeping habits have worsened over recent years. Access to and use of interactive electronic devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, portable gaming devices) and social media have become deep-rooted elements of adolescents’ lives and are associated with poor sleep. Additionally, there is evidence of increases in poor mental health and well-being disorders in adolescents; further linked to poor sleep. This review aimed to summarise the longitudinal and experimental evidence of the impact of device use on adolescents’ sleep and subsequent mental health. Nine electronic bibliographical databases were searched for this narrative systematic review in October 2022. Of 5779 identified unique records, 28 studies were selected for inclusion. A total of 26 studies examined the direct link between device use and sleep outcomes, and four reported the indirect link between device use and mental health, with sleep as a mediator. The methodological quality of the studies was generally poor. Results demonstrated that adverse implications of device use (i.e., overuse, problematic use, telepressure, and cyber-victimisation) impacted sleep quality and duration; however, relationships with other types of device use were unclear. A small but consistent body of evidence showed sleep mediates the relationship between device use and mental health and well-being in adolescents. Increasing our understanding of the complexities of device use, sleep, and mental health in adolescents are important contributions to the development of future interventions and guidelines to prevent or increase resilience to cyber-bullying and ensure adequate sleep.

interventions; longitudinal studies; mobile devices; social media; teenagers; young people

Journal of Sleep Research: Volume 32, Issue 5

Publication date31/10/2023
Publication date online30/04/2023
Date accepted by journal21/03/2023

People (1)


Dr Colin Shore

Dr Colin Shore

Lecturer, Sport