As we are living in a world of the media revolution, media play a significant role in our day-to-day life especially in the minds of children. In this century, media devices like tablet, smartphones, and television have taken the prime place in the life of children, which is not a healthy development. Present day children are spending approximately seven hours a day on entertainment media including television, computers, smartphones and other electronic gadgets.
Adequate sleep is essential for the children to have sustainable mental and physical growth. However, what the children does? They watch movies or play games until late nights after parents slept and sometimes they keep the device under the bed or pillows and goes to sleep. It unknowingly affects the brain cells of the children due to high radiation from the electronic devices especially smartphones, which leads to many serious diseases.
This article can help parents and elders understanding the impact of media and how does access to these devices disturb the sleep of the children.
Finding the reason for poor sleep using media devices in bedtime
Sleep is a fundamental element of child's mental development. Lack of sleep causes an array of health issues. In the modern world, we cannot live without media, but at the same time, usage of these devices like Smartphone and tablets induce poor sleep among children.
Recent studies reveal that children using screen-based media gadgets during bedtimes likely to get double the risk of poor sleep when compared to children who does not use those devices. Poor sleep affects the child's mood variations, and in turn, it affects their cognitive growth and learning skills.
When the children get adequate sleep for their age, they will have a lower risk of gaining weight and developing diabetics. Children, at school they lack attention and learning problems due to poor sleep during bedtime.
From research studies, it is clear that sleep is as much important as nutrition and exercise. A team of experts has discovered that sleep gives room for the brain cells to remove the trash every night by eliminating the disease-causing toxins. So if your child is awake overnight, what happens? The toxins remain inside the body and cause severe disease.
Lack of sleep in childhood causes short and long-term health disorders resulting in a bad diet, obesity, virus infections, etc., and thereby reduced immunity with mental health issues. Therefore, as parents, we must be health conscious about our children’s health and instruct them to cut down the bad habits, or we can divert their attention by making them go for music therapy or indoor games after their learning time.
How screen time affects rest?
If your kids have a habit of using the mobile phone at dark in the sleeping position, then it is utmost important to spare few minutes in reading this article. It is a dangerous situation, and if you do not stop them, then you are pushing your children to a serious situation.
Browsing through smartphones and tablets before bed not only takes away the sleep but also it creates a dull and dusky feel on the next day. The mobile screen emits powerful radiation that suppresses the brain activity and the melatonin levels. If you want your child to remain healthy, then develop a habit on them to read a storybook or printed book.
Avoid screened devices as a safety precaution. Lack of sleep leads to deficiency syndromes and health issues such as diabetes in young age and other cardiovascular diseases. Overuse of media devices at bedtime decreases the total amount of sleep in kids. One of the sleep researcher at the University of Wollongong says that excess screen time hinders the sleep in three main ways
- Timing: The use of the electronic device for extended hours during bed times reduces the sleeping time.
- Content: When the children play games or keep busy with some video game activity that initiates emotional and hormonal responses with the excess secretion of Adrenalin glands. Thereby it diminishes the feel to stay asleep
- Light emissions: The latest research work shows that the blue light from the media devices leads to melatonin suppression and greater effect on shifting the circadian clock. The exposure to blue light at night can lower the hormone that regulates sleep and disturbs your circadian rhythm. Parents have a tough time to control the kids aged 12 to 15 from the use of social media, TV or computers.
- Digital eyestrain: Digital eyestrain is a medical issue with symptoms that can affect the children learning progress. Digital eyestrain causes blurry vision, difficulty to focus, dry eyes, headache, neck and back pain. It has pushed back all digital eyestrain issues and placed carpal tunnel syndrome as the major computer-related eyestrain problems.
Present day children are very much smart, and they have vast knowledge on media devices and social networking than their parents.
According to the recent analysis, children and teenagers ranging from 8 to 18 spend more than 7 hours a day on media devices. Before age ten, the children’s eye is not entirely structured. At this age, the cornea and transparent elastic structure (crystalline lens) continue to appear like very transparent and if exposed too much to the light or blue light, can damage the eyesight.
Parents should strictly supervise and control children from engaging excess time on media activities including gluing on the media screen.
Effects of poor sleep quality among children
It is a tough job to make the kids go to bed on time. However, enough sleep is essential for the child's mental and physical health.
Lack of sleep in children causes specific changes in their mood swing, finding difficult to concentrate on the class resulting inadequate attention with the least learning outcomes. Their cognitive development also reduced due to lack of sleep as well, it seems that they are not capable enough for problem-solving. Children who do not get enough sleep at night, more likely to become hyperactive with a sense of anxiety. They get nervous and show anger on others for no reason.
Poor sleep habit can develop the following issues
- Sleep disorders, including night waking
- Innumerable behavioral issues coupled with physical growth problems
- Inability to concentrate, memory recall and cognitive disorders
- Invariable emotional outbursts, lose interest and tiredness
- Extreme hyperactivity, leading to dangerous physical maneuverings, daredevil attitudes or extremely contracting behavioral issues/clumsiness
Resolve the sleeping problem in children
If you notice your child with poor sleep, you can help your kid to get good sleep by various means. The following suggestions proved beneficial and derived from making radical changes, as per many psychological studies.
- Parents should inculcate positive sleeping habits.
- Regular bedtime routines practices and insist your child for sleeping at fixed times.
- Keep the electronic devices outside the bedroom.
- Try not to browse social networks in front of children to avoid temptations and curiosity. Especially, children from 8 years onwards will be extremely curious to know things.
- Switch off the net connection for the media devices before one hour of the bedtime and induce a sleeping plan, engaging with your children to keep up a healthy, quality relationship. Consider narrating good stories with moral values.
- Divert the children mood withdrawing, taking showers, quilting activity, etc.
- Train the children to fall asleep independently. It may be difficult in the initial stage, but make it a practice.
- Reduce the brightness of the light in the evening itself to make the child’s body produce its melatonin.
- Give them their favorite dish for their dinner to make them feel pleasant throughout the night.
- Remove all the electronic devices from the sleeping room as much as possible.
- Before going to bed, create a sleeping mood. Reduce light, or switch off all lights, pull down window curtain and create the sleep ambiance.
If parents have difficulty to get their children to bed on time, the best remedy is to develop a behavioral practice. If you notice any snoring signs at night, you must be alert that they need proper sleep and you can help them to reduce snoring and give adequate comfort actions that can make them sleep comfortably.
Parents should talk more with their children and must interact with them appropriately. They must spend quality time with the children because they need your emotional support. It is imperative to set a limitation for the screen timings, which can considerably reduce their exposure to media glare. If still, the problem exists, then parents can talk to the child specialist to sort out the issues.
Warm it up
After reading all the above, you must have understood the negative consequences of using media devices at bedtime and how does it affect the child’s mental and physical growth. However, as a parent, you must be aware of the disadvantages more than the advantages behind it.
When monitored and regulated, media devices can help the development at the right age, but using the technology at a young age will only disrupt the learning abilities and cognitive skills. Regular exposure will also be a reason for child’s psychological health deterioration, resulting in irreparable damages.
Therefore, follow the above-described methods to improve the sleeping habits of your child by avoiding media devices. In doing so, you will create not only the childhood memories but also make strides of your family's well-being. So be alert to protect the lives of your children, the world is yours!