Screens, sleep and sensible advice
I have a sensible and an “everything in moderation” approach to most things in life. Tech can be necessary, useful AND educational; however like most things over indulging in them can cause an impact elsewhere. As an infant sleep consultant I have experienced numerous times how screen usage can impact infant sleep.
Here is my sensible screen advice so they don’t’ disturb a good night’s sleep for your family.
Screens can be sedentary so shake it up:
Screen time may limit a child’s physical movements especially if used for very prolonged periods. Too little exercise during the day may mean your child finds it hard to settle at bedtime because they aren’t physically tired. Too little exercise can also cause sleep disturbances over night! Getting that balance right can be tricky but aim for every chunk of screen time they do double that chunk running or kicking about.
Screens can be solitary so get sharing:
Playing games or watching screens can be a solitary experience and limit interactions with family members. Not communicating or interacting throughout the day may lead to your little one resisting separation at bedtime. Having some regular breaks to chat, talk through your day and connect can really help to ease those bedtime battles when they haven’t had a chance to talk to you throughout the day. Wind down time in the bedtime routine is often much overlooked and having 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the age of your little one) where you are completely emotionally and physically present with them (no phones!) can really improved sleep for your family.
Limit screen time for an hour before bed:
Playing adrenaline pumping games or watching exciting TV programmes too close to bed time can overstimulate your child making it hard for them to switch off and fall calmly to sleep. It may also cause sleep disturbances, dreams or nightmares if they are particularly exciting or not age appropriate. If TV is part of your nightly routine you could try doing this together before you start the bedtime prep together.
Blue light may mean bad night:
It can be very easy for a child to use screens to fall asleep especially with older ones who may battle with you! The odd time they fall asleep in front of the TV or screen of course is fine and let’s be honest it is sometimes totally unavoidable! If it does becomes a regular thing the blue light from the screen can affect melatonin levels (sleep hormone) and may cause them to be unsettled at bedtime and cause overnight sleep disturbances.