Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies. It helps us regulate our sleep-wake cycle by letting our bodies know that it’s night-time. Melatonin production is essential for sleep.
Blue light which is emitted from screens suppresses melatonin production. Research has shown that blue light suppresses melatonin twice as much in children compared to adults. This can lead to them taking longer to fall asleep or having multiple wakeups at night, which can significantly impact their sleep quality.
With that being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no screen time for children younger than 18 months of age and minimal screen time for children 18-24 months of age (with a parent present). The AAP suggests no more than an hour a day for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years, provided that screen time consists of educational programs or video calls with family members. Although it doesn’t specify a certain time limit for children above the age of 6, the AAP warns that screen time for this age group should not interfere with healthy habits such as adequate sleep and physical activity.
Do you think your child’s sleep is affected by the blue light emitted from screens? Here are our 5 tips to reduce blue light exposure:
- Screen curfew: set an alarm one hour before bedtime to remind your child to switch any screens off (including TV). You can replace screen time with quiet time such as coloring, reading books, assembling a puzzle together etc…
- Make the bedroom a screen-free zone to eliminate the temptation to have “one last look” before going to sleep; charge all devices in another room. You can even get creative and decorate a special “charging station” – getting your child involved will make them more likely to respect the boundaries you set.
- Avoid night lights with fluorescent or LED light and opt instead for ones with yellow, orange, or red light.
- Program your devices to change the display settings to “dark mode”; or install an application to alter your screen’s shade as you approach the evening.
- Daylight exposure: natural light helps synchronize our biological clock so that as bedtime approaches, sleepiness increases.
Finally, remember to involve your child in making any changes and they’re more likely to stick to them. Be firm but gentle and consistent with the new boundaries and allow them time to get accustomed. If your child is still waking up at night after you make these changes, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a chat – click here to book a complimentary call. You can also reach Saja on +966 59 770 5242 or firstname.lastname@example.org