Ban Digital Devices at Bedtime? One Report Says Yes
Parents and caregivers, it’s time to remove digital devices—TVs, cellphones, computers, tablets and video games—from kids’ and teens’ bedrooms to encourage a better night’s sleep, according to a recent report in the journal Pediatrics.
Three out of four U.S. kids have screen-based devices in their bedrooms and many use them just before lights out or even overnight, according to researchers from seven major U.S. medical institutions—including the University of Colorado Boulder, Pennsylvania State University and Harvard Medical School. Their review of recent research finds that this robs sleep by:
Keeping kids up late. More screen time meant longer delays before sleep and fewer hours of slumber.
Boosting brain stimulation so falling asleep is more difficult.
Exposing them to blue light that alters levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Healthy sleep habits support sharper thinking skills and mental and emotional well-being. It also can reduce risk for childhood obesity and risky behavior, the report notes. Yet approximately 30 percent of preschoolers and 50 to 90 percent of kids and teens don’t get enough sleep. Make it a priority by helping them establish a calm, screen-free bedtime routine.
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