Our Beloved Smartphones Prevent Sleeping

smartphone-clipart-smartphoneResearch: A new study focuses on the effect of small screens (phones and tablets) on children’s sleep and concludes that they are worse for sleep than television screens. The problem is that we hold them closer to our faces, which prevents the increase of melatonin that drives us to fall asleep. They are also more interactive, which tells our brains to stay alert.

Practice: The prevailing recommendation for children and teens is to remove technology (TVs, computers, phones, tablets, etc.) from their bedrooms at night. Having a technology curfew is one great way for parents to protect their sleep. Teens especially just can’t resist the temptation of getting to the next level on their favorite video game or checking who “liked” their last post. This is where we as parents have to step in to ensure their ability to function the next day and their overall health.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

Sleep CartoonResearch: The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a new recommendation for later start times in schools. They conclude that early start times are key contributors to insufficient sleep, especially among middle and high school students. Chronic sleep loss can increase indices of obesity, depression, and automobile accidents within this population. Just as significantly, it makes it harder to learn. Sleep boosts memory, attentiveness, and ultimately, student performance.

Practice: We want our students to perform their best, so unless they ask us for early classes, we tend to start their schedules after 9am. As parents we can promote good sleeping habits by helping them establish restful bedtime routines, removing their phones and computers at a reasonable time so they are able to rest without the pressure to respond to texts, and letting them sleep in when their bodies need it.