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Could Screens be Affecting Your Child's Sleep?

February 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

technology and sleep

When it comes to your children every parent wants the best for their health and well being. An important aspect of this is a healthy sleep pattern since proper rest aids their overall development. Sleeping is an absolutely essential part of your child's life, but with technology on the rise it's becoming apparent that too much screen time can lead to detrimental effects that could be avoided.

Cell phones, TV's, computers and other gadgets that are used on a daily basis are often linked to over stimulation especially in the evening hours. Finding a happy medium is crucial in order to ensure that today's modern connected kids can develop a healthy and regular sleeping pattern.

Why Too Much Screen Time Is Unhealthy

Television has been shown to cause excessive stimulation in children especially when watched late at night before their bedtime. By over stimulating their developing brain a child will often stay alert during the hours that they should be winding down. Hormones can also be thrown out of whack when children spend too much time in front of the TV or computer.

The light that's emitted from electronic devices often tricks a child's brain into thinking it's daytime which inturn depletes their natural hormones. Sleep hormones play an important role in children's sleep cycles since they produce a calming effect which in turn makes them tired and ready for sleep at the end of the night. Unfortunately with too much screen time connected kids are often left with a surplus of energy when it's actually time for them to hit the sheets.

Enforcing Rules In Your Home

Fortunately you can take proactive steps to restore your child's sleeping patterns. Parents can start by limiting the amount of time their child spends in front of the TV. For instance, instead of allowing them to watch TV for hours on end you can compromise by giving them permission to watch an episode of their favorite show followed by another activity such as playing outdoors. Banning computers, cell phones, or TV in their bedrooms is another way to ensure that they'll be tired by the time their bed time arrives.

By enforcing the rule that these activities are meant for the daytime you can help to break their habit of spending too much time in front of a screen at night. You can also enforce screen-free rules where your child cannot electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime. By helping them build a consistent sleep schedule, such as a routine bedtime and a room free of screens, your child will benefit from restful and deeper sleep. 

Allow Your Children To Enjoy Their Electronics In A Healthy Way

Instead of banning electronic devices altogether it's much better to come up with healthy limits. If your child is forced to steer clear of their favorite gadgets they'll be more likely to want to break the rules. Computers can be beneficial since they are a great aid when completing tasks such as homework. Allowing your child to use their computer for a reasonable amount of time will ensure that they can still have fun without disrupting their sleep cycle.

With the popularity of technology, today's connected kids can be harder than ever to "disconnect" at the end of the day. Consider allowing them to make use of all of their favorite devices but try to set limits to ensure that they are also getting enough physical exertion throughout the day as well. You can also set a good example by taking breaks yourself if you're frequently using electronic devices. 

Raising Your Child In Today's Technologically Advanced World 

Today's connected kids will develop healthy sleeping patterns by following these tips and creating your own rules for your home. Electronic devices can be fun and beneficial to both you and your child but by setting boundaries you can be sure that a happy medium is found so everyone can be happy.

                                     
Tim Woda

Posted by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, online predators, internet safety resources, health & wellbeing

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