Children develop sleep problems when they use portable media devices, such as tablets or smartphones, before bed. They have more difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, are more sleepy during the daytime, and are twice more likely to sleep less than children without access to their devices before bedtime. A JAMA Pediatrics review (reut.rs/2fkjL1j) of 20 studies that involved children using these portable media devices. The review excluded their use of PCs and TVs before bed. It included over 125,000 children between the ages of 6 and 19 years old.
Even more interesting, is the fact that sleep problems are also more likely in children who had their portable media device near them at bedtime, even if they didn’t use it before bedtime. If they receive texts or use social media, then they are more likely to check their devices throughout the night. Before you know it, after checking the texts, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat & other social media, several hours of precious sleep may have been lost.
So many of us are guilty of using out smartphones in the middle of the night. We’ve commonly woken up, after a deep sleep REM cycle, checked our smartphone, and interrupted our sleep. A good amount of sleep for most children is 10 hours per night, for teens it lowers to 9 hours per night. For a child, this has a huge impact on their education the next day as well. If sleep problems exist, learning difficulties are more likely to occur when they are sleepy during the daytime.
Next time you use your smartphone before bed, think about how it could negatively impact your own sleep. Poor sleep is linked to many potential negative health consequences, including dementia.
Please consider protecting your child’s sleep by making sure they don’t use their smartphones or tablets before bedtime, turn them off or remove them from their bedroom at night.