Growing Up Digital & Getting Enough Sleep.
One of the problems of growing up digital is sleep deprivation caused by screen usage before bedtime. Screens are robbing children of sleep, not only because they continue to use them later than their normal bed-time but also because researchers have found that bright light from screens interferes with signals to the brain to begin the sleep cycle. Our brains respond to dimmed lights by producing the hormone, melatonin, which brings on sleep. Even using e-readers at night reduces melatonin levels which means it takes longer to fall asleep and this causes reduced alertness the following day. For the developing child's brain, continued use of screens at night will have a significant impact on their ability to absorb new information and facts (at school) each day. Over time, both their health and their education suffers.
Top Tips from parenting experts.
- Establish healthy habits and make it a house rule not to use any devices in any bedrooms.
- Charge up devices downstairs at night. This means there will be no notifications or alarms to disturb your sleep.
- Use an alarm clock instead of your mobile phone to wake yourself up in time in the morning.
Be a good role model as a parent.
Don't have double standards as your children will want to follow your example. So leave your own phone and devices downstairs or in another room to charge through the night.
Try to keep your bedroom for sleeping in and don't use it for computers or TV watching if you can possibly help it. If that's not possible for you then make sure you switch everything off at a reasonable time before going to bed.
Recharge devices overnight but keep them outside your children's bedroom to help them avoid temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. This encourages more family time, healthier eating habits and better sleep which are all critical for children's wellness.
Do you have any helpful ways to make sure your children get to sleep in the digital world?
Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children's Author
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