Screens are everywhere. We use them to read, watch movies, relax, and connect with our families. We’re even starting to see screens being used in schools more than ever before. It’s easy to be inundated with screens when we use them for educational and recreational purposes, but it may be having a profound effect on our lives in ways we haven’t thought of before.
It’s been a running argument that televisions, especially when we watch them before bedtime, negatively affect our quality of sleep. Between the noise and glare, it seems obvious that TV would impact our sleep patterns. More recently, however, studies have shown that other devices might be affecting our sleep too. These findings aren’t only for adults—screens can affect our children’s sleep too.
According to The National Sleep Foundation, “30 percent of elementary school children and over 50 percent of middle and high school students failed to get their nightly sleep requirement.”
Quality sleep is especially important for young children whose brains and bodies require at least 10 hours of sleep a night.
There are different theories on how exactly screens are disturbing our sleep patterns. Some argue that increased time with screens cuts into our time of physical activity, making us full of energy even when it comes time to sleep. Other arguments claim that at times, the light from screens can overstimulate our brains, which affects our ability to calm down at bedtime. However, there are some solutions on how to use our screens and devices in ways that won’t affect our quality of sleep.
Consider implementing some of these tips into your family’s nightly routine for better, more consistent sleep:
- Put away screens before bedtime: Try setting a limit on the duration and time of day your family uses their devices. Putting screens away at least an hour before bedtime will give your children adequate time to calm down and get prepared for sleep.
- Make the bedroom a peaceful place: Some families choose to restrict screens in the bedroom. Cell phones, e-readers, tablets, and other devices are kept in a communal space, which leaves the bedroom a place for resting. This can help kids from feeling tempted to use their devices at bedtime.
- Practice Consistency: When it comes to getting enough sleep, consistency is best, especially for children. Consider talking with your children about setting a consistent sleep schedule including specific times for bedtime and waking up. Life can be chaotic, but setting a schedule will help increase the quality of sleep our children are getting each night.
Navigating the best practices of screens and other devices can be difficult, especially for parents! But when it comes to quality sleep, the less technology the better. Remember to turn off those screens and wake up rested and ready for the day.