Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A survey study of the association between mobile phone use and daytime sleepiness in California high school students

Nila Nathan1 and Jamie Zeitzer23*

Author Affiliations

1 Mountain View High School, Mountain View, 3535 Truman Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040, USA

2 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 3801 Miranda Avenue (151Y), Stanford CA 94305, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA

3 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Avenue (151Y), Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:840  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-840

Published: 12 September 2013



Mobile phone use is near ubiquitous in teenagers. Paralleling the rise in mobile phone use is an equally rapid decline in the amount of time teenagers are spending asleep at night. Prior research indicates that there might be a relationship between daytime sleepiness and nocturnal mobile phone use in teenagers in a variety of countries. As such, the aim of this study was to see if there was an association between mobile phone use, especially at night, and sleepiness in a group of U.S. teenagers.


A questionnaire containing an Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) modified for use in teens and questions about qualitative and quantitative use of the mobile phone was completed by students attending Mountain View High School in Mountain View, California (nā€‰=ā€‰211).


Multivariate regression analysis indicated that ESS score was significantly associated with being female, feeling a need to be accessible by mobile phone all of the time, and a past attempt to reduce mobile phone use. The number of daily texts or phone calls was not directly associated with ESS. Those individuals who felt they needed to be accessible and those who had attempted to reduce mobile phone use were also ones who stayed up later to use the mobile phone and were awakened more often at night by the mobile phone.


The relationship between daytime sleepiness and mobile phone use was not directly related to the volume of texting but may be related to the temporal pattern of mobile phone use.

Adolescent; Sleep deprivation; Mobile phone; Survey