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Are Electronics Affecting Your Kids' Sleep?

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Categories: Pediatrics
Are Electronics Affecting Your Kids' Sleep?

We all enjoy browsing the Internet or watching TV before bed, but these activities could be affecting your kids' sleep more than you think.

The ever-increasing connectivity of the world, due to electronics, allows us to stay engaged on our devices late into the evening. However, these activities expose us to the harsh light that devices emit, which can promote wakefulness and decrease the quality of our sleep.

The increasing prevalence of electronics in bedrooms is becoming a more prominent problem for children. According to the National Sleep Foundation,

  • "Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes, experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.
  • Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bedtimes, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times.
  • Texting and emailing after lights out, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.
  • Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children, and their work is often completed on the computer – a significant light source late in the evening.
  • Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules, and the lure of entertainment conspire to keep our children electronically engaged at night."

Here are the National Sleep Foundation's guidelines for how much sleep youth should be getting each night:

Age Recommended Hours
3-5 10-13 hours
6-13 9-11 hours
14-17 8-10 hours

As a parent, it is important to set a good example for children. Multiple studies have shown that as parents increase their usage of electronic devices, their children do the same. It is important to show kids that life does not revolve around phones, tablets, computers and TV. The National Sleep Foundation recommends establishing a consistent bed and wake time, limiting screen time before bed and eliminating device use an hour before turning in.

Adequate amount of sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity, and weight control. Lack of sleep contributes to decreased concentration in school, moodiness and a weakened immune system — lack of sleep is not something to be taken lightly! Make a resolution to power down at least an hour before bed, and make sure your kids are, too.

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Doylestown Health is committed to providing family-centered children's services to Bucks and Montgomery County communities.  The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center offers expert inpatient care to all ages including infants, children and teens. Della Penna Pediatric Center Services extend beyond the hospital setting to include health and wellness education, nutrition services and other support services.

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