In adolescents, technology use at bedtime is linked to disrupted sleep and psychological distress. Adolescents are known to sleep later on weekends compared to weekdays but whether this leads to greater technology use, and, hence, additional psychological distress is not known. At greater risk maybe adolescents with a late compared to early chronotype, that is a preference for late versus early sleep onset and offset times.
Self-reported measures of sleep timing, chronotype (early, neither early nor late, late), technology medium (social media/texting, TV/streaming, and gaming), and psychological distress (DASS-21) were collected from 462 students attending one Australian high school.
Technology use at bedtime was greater on weekends and especially in adolescents with a late chronotype. Social media/texting on weekends was predictive of delayed sleep onset times (β = .120), and shorter sleep (β = −.172). Shorter sleep on weekdays but not on weekends was associated with greater psychological distress. Technology medium and chronotype were not predictive of psychological distress.
This study confirmed that technology use and its impact on sleep differed on weekdays compared to weekends and that a late chronotype was associated with greater technology use. However, neither technology medium nor chronotype was found to affect psychological distress. While greater autonomy may be granted to adolescents over the weekend regarding sleep behaviour, young people, parents, and clinicians should be mindful of the link between technology use and sleep.