A third of young people are showing signs of smartphone addiction that is negatively impacting their sleep and leading them to neglect other important areas of their lives, new research has found.

The study by King’s College London highlights how extended smartphone usage can quickly become problematic.

39% of the 1,043 young adults surveyed said that they had found themselves struggling to limit their time on connected devices and that they often feel distressed and anxious when they are unable to access them.

Addiction to smartphones is also causing problems at night, with 69% admitting that they are sleep deprived or have poor-quality sleep patterns.

Researchers found that a daily usage of more than three hours was the general threshold for when signs of addiction manifested.

However, around a fifth of respondents said that they are clicking and scrolling on their smartphones for five hours or more a day.

“Smartphones are increasingly becoming indispensable parts of our daily lives, and this study is an important step in looking at their impact in terms of dysfunctional use and on sleep in a UK population,” lead author of the study Samantha Sohn said.

In order to address the imbalance of smartphone usage, experts have advised people to use greyscale colours to make displays less appealing to look at.

They have also recommended leaving phones at home for a short period each day when going out for a walk and to start practising intentional phone usage to cut down on compulsive social media scrolling.