Research suggests that elevated levels of screen time in the evening can negatively impact sleep outcomes (sleep duration, quality, and latency). Yet, there is a lack of evidence exploring if this relationship exists in college students. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between evening screen time use and objectively measured sleep outcomes in US college students. College students (N = 29) junior or senior standing in a Health Sciences major were recruited to participate in this cross-sectional study. Participants wore accelerometers on their wrist for 24hr/day for seven days to capture sleep duration, efficiency, awakenings, and timing. Participants completed a survey regarding their screen time habits and evening usage. Twenty-nine college students (86% female, averaged 21.5 years old, 38% White, 35% Overweight/Obese) provided valid accelerometer data. There were 180 total valid night sleep observations. Average nighttime sleep duration was 433.8 minutes with an average of 22.3 awakenings. The mean sleep efficiency was 87.3%. The average bedtime was 2:26 am, and the average wake time was 8:01 am. The average daily screen time of participants was 419.1 minutes, and after 10:00 pm was 112.2 minutes. Cell phone use before bed was negatively correlated with self-reported sleep duration (r = -0.42; p-value = 0.02), and positively correlated with stimulating screen time content (r = 0.43; p-value = 0.02). Those who napped had a lower daily screen time duration compared to those who did not nap (Mean difference = 91.7 minutes; p-value = 0.05) and had a higher sleep efficiency of 95.8%. Preliminary evidence suggests that a relationship between both evening screen time duration in addition to content, and objectively measured sleep outcomes may exist for US college students. This study provides reliable, objective data of college student sleep that may inform future public health interventions in this population.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Brazendale, Keith


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health Professions and Sciences


Health Sciences

Degree Program

Health Sciences, Pre-Clinical Track



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date