Document Type


Date of Original Version



Human Development and Family Studies


Although higher levels of cellphone use have been correlated with sleep problems, few studies have investigated specific qualities of cellphone use that may account for this relationship. Recently, significant associations among nighttime cellphone use, compulsive orientation toward cellphone use, and multiple characteristics of compromised sleep were found in a sample of undergraduate students enrolled at a small liberal arts college (Murdock, Horissian, & Crichlow-Ball, 2016). The current study expands upon these findings. Data were collected from 2 samples of undergraduates: 273 students enrolled at a midsized state university and 152 self-identified students recruited through Mechanical Turk. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses that nighttime cellphone notifications and qualities of compulsive cellphone use would predict sleep problems and daytime sleepiness, even after taking into account the overall frequency of cellphone use. Full support for hypotheses was found for both domains of sleep-related functioning in both samples. Findings suggest that contextual aspects of cellphone use, such as its timing and compulsivity, may be more important to emerging adults’ sleep than aspects of cellphone use such as the number of texts or time spent on calls. Sleep promotion programs for emerging adults should target specific cellphone use qualities—that is, the when, where, and how of cellphone use—to promote behavior change and improved sleep.