Parents know how difficult it can be to ensure our children, especially our teenagers, are getting enough sleep. Growing children spend about 40% of their lives sleeping. This critical time is vital for both physical and cognitive development, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
These days, the culprit of most sleep loss is electronics. Televisions, computers, tablets, and cell phones have become a mainstay in our lives and are too often used as a wind-down activity before bed. The problem is that all of these devices emit light. Light is used as the main cue in regulating our bodies' circadian rhythm, which are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24 hour cycle, and act as our bodies' master clock. Because light can interfere with melatonin production, these devices actually end up impacting our hormone levels! The result- less melatonin production- makes us feel more tired than usual. Add to that, the emotional need to check the electronics near our beds and the end result- less sleep. It's a vicious cycle ending in far less sleep for our children than we were getting as kids years ago. This begets dangerous ground when we think about the implications of lack of sleep, especially during school.