There has been a number of studies that conclude that being out in nature while learning is most beneficial and suggests that the anxiety of big city life is actually quite bad for nurturing mental growth. I don't have any links for you, I have a few of the philosophy and psychology papers at home, but I'm not there.
Essentially they say that we don't notice the anxiety of city life until we get out of it. Some of the papers encouraged you to try reading (if you're a student) your textbooks in a park away from distractions of the city. I tried it and found that it was much easier to focus. They encourage the readers to remove items with flashing/blinking lights or lights that are constantly on from their bedrooms because the light penetrates through our eyelids while we're sleeping and distracts our brains. Kinda like how you can tell if the light is on, even when you close your eyes.
Anyway, I saw your post and thought you might be interested in those types of studies. Sorry I can't provide you details on the titles or authors. There was a recent study in the news with a group who went into a cell-dead-zone to get away from technology to do a similar study. Maybe if you can find that article, you can find their names and see if they've done any other research on the topic, or email the researchers and ask for more information.
I like that you pointed that out about kids too. When I was little, I was allowed to watch tv, but I spent almost all of my time outside. All the way until I moved to LA for college. But I was shocked to see that people in their teens spend so much time inside, on the computer or watching tv these days. Even in my teens I was outside skateboarding or riding my bike around and going to the river with my friends. Now kids go outside but they look like zombies on their iphones and androids. I use an iphone, but mostly for reading twitter feeds while I poop or looking up bus routes.
For your sleep issues, you're getting older and have to remember that stuff like caffeine starts to affect you differently and that you still need exercise. At my office they encourage us to get up and walk every few hours for about 10 to 15 mins and to stretch every hour. A doctor also told me a few things that helped me with sleep trouble too (I'm a systems test engineer for flight software, so I also stare at computers all day). Wake up everyday at the same time, even if you're gonna be tired. Don't drink caffeine after 2pm ( I think this varies per person). He basically said "only use your bed for sleeping and sex, don't lay on it to watch tv or reading, or whatever." Get moderate exercise and examine my diet. I actually went as far as to get a calorie counter app on my iphone to help me watch what I eat and to keep track of my vitamin intake and so on, it has really helped me, I had no idea that even though I thought I was eating healthy, I wasn't getting my vitamins, etc. I don't rely on it, but it helped me see what was actually good and what I just perceived was good for me.
I feel its in our nature to become anti-social. Especially people in technical fields. And it can be hard to socialize to begin with. All of my peers have had the same experience, if you go to a party and people say, "hey, what do you do?" and you reply "I'm a system test engineer for flight software for spacecrafts" they get a blank look on their face and for some reason they have to go outside or to the kitchen and the conversation just ends. Because they're expecting you to say, "oh I work at some small company doing web design" or something stupid. Because this conversation is ultimately designed to get you to ask them in return what they do so they can go off about how they feel what they do is the best thing in the world. Though I may agree, it dies before it gets there because they have no idea what I'm talking about.
Anyway, I really just wanted to say, "yeah, I hear ya."