By: Jenn Kelner, CPA, CA
Certified Child Sleep Consultant
Does the Use of Electronics Before Bed Impact Sleep?The Martins Family from Winnipeg asks:
Does watching television hurt my child’s sleeping patterns? My husband insists that watching tv before bed is fine, but I think we should be winding down. On top of it all, my twelve year old watches shows that are somewhat violent before bed. This can’t be good. Can you put this family debate to rest?
I would have to agree with mom on this one. Research shows that lights in your home, including overhead lights or lights emitted from electronics, suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the body’s natural sleep inducing hormone. The blue light emitted from electronics, such as TVs, computers, tablets, or smart phones has been shown to have the strongest effect on melatonin production, so its important to turn these devices off at least 1 hour before bed. If your child is using electronics before bed, it will most likely delay the onset of sleep, reducing both the quantity and quality of sleep that they are getting at night.
Reducing the use of electronics before bed also decreases the amount of disturbing content your children are absorbing right before going to sleep. Your children are more likely to experience nightmares if they’ve been exposed to stimulation and frightening shows before bed. Even the evening news can be enough to worry a child. Avoiding the use of electronics before bed can reduce these nighttime fears and ensure everyone gets a good night’s sleep.
With Spring comes Spring cleaning so what better time to re-evaluate your family’s bedtime routines? Incorporate some activities to help your body wind down and give yourself the best chance for a great night’s sleep. Dim the lights, play quiet games or puzzles, read a story or just talk about your day. You’ll be surprised how much more connected your family will be if everyone disconnects from their electronic devices before bed.