Why screen time is bad before bed?

by User Not Found | Aug 20, 2015

Do your children wake up feeling drowsy, sluggish and sleep deprived? Is it because they’ve spent less time sleeping and more time on their tablets, computers, mobile phones or watching TV, before they finally dose off?

Boy with iPadPsychologist and father of two, Anthony Gunn says getting the right amount of sleep is essential.

“Without it, children are prone to a variety of health issues, and research has also linked lack of sleep to poor academic performance in children.”

School aged children between five and 12 are meant to get at least 10 hours of shut eye, but slightly older children can do with a little less—ranging from seven and a half to nine hours of bed rest.

But according to an article in The Conversation the amount of sleep children and adolescents are getting is decreasing, with a 2014 review finding consistent evidence that sleep is hampered by ‘screen time’.

Young people can get their hands on almost any device, which means they’re sleeping later at night and for shorter periods as their access increases.

So why is screen time bad before bed?

Playing exciting video games, watching dramatic or scary television shows, or having stimulating phone conversations can over stimulate the brain and lead to the release of hormones such as adrenaline. This can in turn make it more difficult to fall asleep or maintain sleep.

Perhaps, not so obvious is the affect bright lights can also have. Being exposed to bright light from electronic and digital devices just before going to bed can increase alertness, and therefore disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Mr Gunn says children need to re-charge their batteries, which will help children reach their full potential at school.

“Research also shows that children with adequate sleep have longer attention spans.”

So if your children aren’t sleeping enough, you can try to reduce over stimulation by making sure there’s no screen time at least one hour before bedtime. Also ensure there are no bright lights in the bedroom as it can trick your child's body clock into thinking it's day time. Introduce a relaxing bed-time routine, teaching your child’s body to start slowing down in preparation for sleep.

Posted by John Velegrinis

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  1. Nev | Feb 21, 2016
    Melatonin levels are critical for sleep and this is where screens affect them most 

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