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All of us, including our kids, are surrounded by technology. Whether it’s a cell phone, tablet or computer, these devices have become a part of daily life. So much so that it’s hard to put them down - even at bedtime.
One way that these particular forms of technology affect sleep is that they cause cognitive stimulation. According to Mark Rosekind, PhD, former director of the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at NASA, the physical act of responding to a video game or even an email makes your body tense. This stress sends your body into a fight-or-flight response, making it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
The “glow” that electronics emit also affects sleep by delaying the release of melatonin, a hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Reducing this hormone not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but also to stay asleep.
While there are many factors that affect sleep, the number one way for you and your child to get better sleep is to have everyone in the family unplug. Have a transition period of at least 30 minutes of technology-free time before going to bed. Then, make all bedrooms electronic-free. Pings, chimes and buzzes in the middle of the night can interrupt sleep even if you don’t “hear” them.
By getting enough quality sleep, your child will be able to pay attention and learn better in school, be less moody and irritable, and grow and develop properly. Parents: You, too, might find this practice will improve your sleep, moods and daily productivity.