Either it is in the waiting room of a hospital or in the mall, you will find a digital screen anywhere you go. This has made it impossible for one to stay away from digital media.
Likewise, digital media has been a necessity for everyone, you will need a digital screen not just for entertainment purposes, but also to complete your daily chores.
Due to the extreme necessity of digital devices, everyone has been dependent on them. You cannot just blame your kids for being obsessed with their devices when you yourself cannot function without them.
Most of the kids use TV, smartphones, and other digital screens usually from early morning to late night. Using screens such as TV, smartphones during the nighttime extends the bedtime as they keep on watching. It sooner became a habit.
When it becomes their habit, digital screens disturb the sleep of kids. It dwells in kids’ brains and bodies while they are sleeping. It alerts their brain, throwing off their natural sleep cycle. It interrupts sleep with warnings.
Screens Such As TV And Smartphones Affect Kid’s Sleep By:
The Blue light Emitted From The Screens
The blue light from the screens passes back through the retina and sends signals to the brain. The brain translates the light into the images. The contact of all shades of color of light aids to control our natural sleep. And, wake up cycle aka circadian rhythm.
Apart from other color light, the blue light. Creates confusion with the body’s aptitude to make us feel asleep. The blue light blocks a melatonin hormone that makes us feel sleepy.
Excessive Use of Screens Increases Alertness At Night
According to the studies, the bright light emitted from screens like smartphones, tablets, and others. They reduce melatonin (the hormone for making us sleep). It makes a metal move and the brainwaves suggest increasing the alertness.
Also, when you watch some emotional or violent movie before you sleep, you might not be able to sleep. Your mind might keep thinking about the movie, making you unable to sleep.
This Leads to Significant And Chronic Absence In Sleep
Sleep is an essential need for every human being, and for a healthy lifestyle, you will need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. Children will need more sleep hours than adults, as you might be aware, children gown most during their sleep time. Here is how much sleeping hour a kid or teenagers requires:
- Kindergarten-age (3-5 years): 10 to 11 hrs.
- Primary-age (6-13 years): 9 to 11 hrs.
- Teenagers (14-17 years): 8 to 10 hrs.
Excess use of screens disrupts your kids’ daily routine to the bed. Due to the lengthy screen time, your kids may suffer from the chronic absence of sleep.
Decreases Total Amount of REM Sleep
REM (aka Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is a sound sleep stage also known as the dream stage. Excessive use of screens can reduce your kids’ REM sleep as they might constantly think about their phones.
The smartphones, TV, and other screens keep on buzzing on the mind of kids. Even they are not using them they are on the brainwaves and can interrupt deep sleep.
Problems Faced by Kids Due to Poor Sleep Hygiene:
Sleep hygiene for kids is very essential, it relates to their mental, physical and emotional conditions. Quality of sleep at night reduces anxiety and aggression among kids. Excessive screen time have many sleep problem among kids:
1. Physical Problems Due to Poor Sleep Hygiene
It is difficult to wake up in the morning and feels sleepy:
Usually, kids are free during nighttime, and they use their devices till late at night and wake up feeling sleepy in the morning. When your kids use devices excessively during nighttime, their sleep pattern changes.
Many teenagers spent their whole night on their phones and have very few hours of sleep and can feel sleepy the whole day. It makes them difficult to wake up in the morning and perform their daily activities.
Yawning often throughout the day:
Due to the lack of sleep, kids feel tired and sleepy throughout the day and they keep yawing the whole day. Yawing throughout the day can be caused by a disturbance in the sleep pattern, lack of sleep, tiredness, etc.
Excessive yawning can make kids wanting to doze off throughout the day and they even lose concentration on their studies.
Lazy and bored:
This point is related to the above-mentioned points, as kids use their devices all night they can feel lack of sleep and inactive during day time. They start to feel lazy to perform many activities and at the same time, they feel bored.
Kids prefer to lay down on their couch and be couch potatoes the whole day instead of studying or doing any physical activities or sports.
Consumption of unhealthy stimulants:
Due to lack of sleep, to stay awake kids consume lots of caffeine and sugary drink regularly to stay awake. They take the help of caffeinated products to stay awake during the daytime and stay awake throughout the night.
Besides sleep disturbance among kids due to caffeine products, kids will also face other health problems like heart and bone issues, muscles aches, hormonal disbalance, etc.
2. Mental problems due to poor sleep hygiene
Not showing interest and attention in the everyday task:
Lack of sleep will make your kids lazy and want to doze off all the time. They do not want to perform any physical activities or want to do any work. Everyday tasks may seem new to them so it is essential for parents to teach kids life skills.
Childrens’ attention also reduces when do not get enough sleep, their focus and concentration power on studies and other activities decreases.
Suffer from amnesia:
Amnesia is a condition of memory loss. Due to poor sleep hygiene, the brain might not function well causing amnesia.
When you are sleeping, you brain processes all the information that it takes during day time and forms memories. If you are having sleeping problem, then it becomes difficult for your brain to function resulting in loss of memory.
3. Health problems due to poor sleep hygiene
Eye slight or eye strain problems:
This is the most well known problem that all age people face when they use their device till late night and sleep for very few hours. Usually when your kids spend most of the time on their device in the dark they start to face blurry vision and loss of the eyesight.
Also, due to excess use of screen the blue light may damage the eye retina and loss the eyesight.
Central nervous system:
Sleep is critical for the sound health of our nervous system and brain. Due to poor sleep kids may suffer from bipolar mood disorder, anxiety, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, depression, and any other mental health issues.
The immune systems produce protective antibodies that can fight foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria while we are sleeping.
Deficiency of sleep may not be able to defend the invaders and take longer to get well. Long sleep deficiency increases the risk of diabetes, cancer, and even heart diseases.
Sleep deprivation affects our respiratory system. At night time breathing disorders disrupt the quality of sleep. It leaves you suffering from common cold, and flu that can be worse causing chronic lung illness.
Lack of sleep effect leptin (hormone for feeling hunger) and ghrelin (hormone for fullness). Sleep deprivation decreases leptin and increases ghrelin. That imbalance our food consumption.
Deficiency of sleep decreases the release of insulin and causes high blood sugar level that causes diabetes and obesity.
Tips to Reduce The Screen Effects on Kids:
Use of Blue light Glasses
The blue rays emit from the screen affect eye strain and sleep time. It messes with circadian rhythm and the blue light glasses are made to filter blue light emitted from digital screens.
This glass helps to protect from the effect and reduce the damage of the retina from the blue rays.
Installation of blue-light filtration applications.
There are blue light filters that reduce the emission of blue light by regulating the screens to natural color. It also shifts the screen to night mode and relief your eyes and helps to reduce eye strain.
The application has got the facility to adjust the screen pulsations effectively. This is done over proper regulation of screen brightness.
Avoid screen time after 7 pm or 2 hours before bedtime.
Screen time length affects the hormone that makes us sleepy. Instead of using digital screen reading books, playing indoor games and yoga promotes good sleep and will ease digital parenting.
Encouraging your kids to the green world rather than the online world promotes sleep and mental health. So, setting protocols that use digital screens late at night is restricted.
Enabling night mode or lower the brightness.
Our digital system has a feature to adjust the brightness. It adjusts our slight and night mode changes the system that promotes to reduce eye strain. Night mode has a lot less white light shining out at the eyes.
Kids are exposed to a lot of screen time these days. Which is affecting their sleep and so their self-regulation skills. Sleep is essential for the mental and physical development of kids.
Proper sleep not only offers a healthy life but bright academics too. Limit your kid’s digital screen from today and focus them to be in a green world.