Sleep is an important factor for the wellbeing and healthy development of children because it helps them to learn, control their emotions, behaviors, and health in general. Over the years, the amount of sleep children have been getting has greatly reduced because of electronic gadgets like tablets, phones, television etc. However, parents must keep kids away from tech for better sleep.
These gadgets are unhealthy for children because they lead to poor sleeping habits, interfere with proper mental and physical growth and learning, and can contribute to serious health conditions like obesity.
How technology affects sleep
The advancements in technology have seen more kids being able to access electronic gadgets either for school or for their own personal use. There are three main ways that these gadgets have contributed to the disruption of sleep in children.
Electronics suppresses the production of melatonin
Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles in the brain. The screens on the electronic gadgets emit ‘blue light’ which is picked up by photoreceptors in the retina of the eyes responsible for sensing light and dark.
During daylight, the sun is responsible for triggering these receptors but in the night, the electronic gadgets emit enough blue light to trick the brain that it is time to stay awake.
This blue light hinders the brain from producing melatonin thus making falling asleep more difficult. Children should not be exposed to electronic screen during sleep time so that the can have enough rest during the night. This will, in turn, increase their focus during the day for learning and other activities.
Parents can also ensure that all electronic gadgets are left outside the bedrooms for maximum effect on healthy sleeping patterns.
Electronic gadgets keep kids brain alert
Online surfing, social media and playing video games are some of the activities that children use the gadgets for. These activities trigger the mind to produce adrenaline which is a hormone that makes their brain remain active at night. Therefore, even though they feel tired, they feel as though they need to stay awake.
Sleep time is supposed to give children time to disconnect and unwind after spending a whole day engaged in various activities. Technology does not allow them this luxury because it still makes their brains active when it is time to relax.
Children should spend at least one hour before bed without their gadgets if they are to have a good sleep cycle.
Gadgets wake them up through the night
Electronic gadgets have different chimes installed in them that can greatly disrupt sleep. Alarms, notifications, messages, emails, calls etc. are some of the examples of sounds that can really disrupt a sleep cycle.
They are all distractions that should be turned off if parents want to ensure that their children will not be woken up by them. Keeping devices away from the bedroom is the safest way to ensure that they won’t be distracted.
How can you break this technology bedtime habit?
Here are some of the things that parents could adopt to ensure that kids’ sleep is not disturbed by gadgets and gizmos:
Parents must ensure that all electronic devices are shut down at least one hour before bedtime. This will discourage the child from being tempted to use the device and will give them time to relax their brain. It will also help in the production of melatonin to induce sleep.
Keep away all the gadgets from the bedroom
Parents can ban the use of electronic gadgets in the child’s bedroom. This will keep tech devices away from the bedroom and allow the bedroom to be exclusively for sleep at bedtime. It will also encourage good sleep patterns for children.
Dimming the screen of the gadget
In case the child needs to use the gadget for school homework, parents should set the gadget in such a way that the screen will be dim enough for the blue light not to be emitted. This will avoid brain stimulation and interference with the production of melatonin to help the child fall asleep without any difficulty.
Always limit the daytime use of the gadgets
Be it playing games, watching television, emailing, messaging etc. the time spent on such activities on tech gadgets should be limited. Encourage interactive activities like playing cards, chess or any other constructive game that will engage their mind and challenge them intellectually. Reading books is also a good effective measure for stimulating the brain while relaxing it to ensure an easy time falling asleep.
Choose calming activities before bedtime
Calming activities are those that will help the child’s brain relax and at the same time promote healthy brain activity. Try to encourage playing cards or board games with them, read real books, do projects like drawing or coloring, work a puzzle, do some exercises, yoga or breathing exercises to relax, and or your child a relaxing massage.
Get a comfortable pillow and mattress for your child
Just like you, the child should have a comfortable bed to sleep in. Ensure that the pillow and mattress are right and comfortable so that he or she can fall asleep as fast as possible once tucked in.
An uncomfortable bed can lengthen the time of falling asleep and thus encourage the temptation to use the gadget.
Setting a good example as parents
Most of the things that children follow are learned from the parents. Children try to emulate their parents even when talking about using electronic gadgets in the house. If a parent uses these devices in their bedrooms, guess what, the child will also do that.
Parents should try to adopt the same rules that they impose on their child if they are to learn better and effective ways to use these gadgets.
Children are getting affected by technology addiction, and it is evident among many people around the world. Electronics have become such a big part of our lives that even children are no able to get enough sleep because they have also been overtaken by this phenomenon.
Technology affects melatonin production in the brain, promotes adrenaline production, and also disrupts sleep cycles. Get more insights here:
Parents can help their children break off this habit by implementing healthy technology habits like shutting down these gadgets, removing the gadgets from the bedrooms, dimming their children’s screen, and ensuring a comfortable bed for quality sleep. Additionally, parents can help keep kids away from tech for better sleep by setting the example; parents should be good role models as far as technology use is concerned.