For sleep health, it’s vitally important to reduce the amount of screen usage before it’s time to hit the hay. As the day gets later, our bodies produce more melatonin in order for it to be easier to go to sleep. With screen time before bed, melatonin production is suppressed making it a challenge to fall asleep. This is because screens emit blue light, which is detrimental if you are trying to get more rest.
For kids, it’s 10 times more important.
Not only does screen time affect sleep in children, new studies have been released saying that daily touch screen use can make it significantly harder for babies and toddlers to fall asleep at night. What’s more, with every hour of media usage a baby’s sleep is shortened by 15 minutes!
Our kids cannot afford to lose their sleep — sleep loss in children has been linked to major health problems like obesity, diabetes, mental health issues, and has negative effects on brain growth and development. Kids need to sleep in order to stay happy and healthy (sleep is nature’s best remedy against illness). Good quality, consolidated night sleep is also important for older children for school performance and learning. Kids who sleep better, learn easily.
Keep close track of your child’s screen time. Set a cut off time in the evening and replace TV time with some outdoor play, reading, or quiet games. Also, depending on your child’s age review carefully the AAP’s guidelines to screen time. Parents must also remember that they need to be an example to their kids and put the phones or tablets away some time.
If your child does have some difficulty falling asleep and media usage has been reduced, establish a consistent bedtime routine so that their brain and body can wind down and know that sleep is coming.