Temperatures are climbing and school is officially out. What does that mean for your family? For many families that means children will more than likely be spending more time on electronic devices; watching more TV, playing more video games and spending more hours on the computer. However, the effects of electronics don’t just impact children, they impact adults as well.
Today, electronic devices are seemingly everywhere, and they have become ingrained into the modern family. In fact, it’s hard for us to imagine a single day without them. While the accessibility of these devices has its benefits, the constant usage of them can take a toll on the quality and duration of sleep that your family experiences.
Most electronic devices emit blue-green light, and some studies show that this type of light can interfere with our brain signals for rest. It’s not just our children that need “screen time” limits, adults should also understand the risks associated with the overuse of electronic devices. While it may be tempting to check emails or watch TV in bed, this behavior can inhibit the brain from transitioning the body into sleep mode. According to the Chief Medical Officer at FusionHealth, Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, “Eliminating or severely limiting the use of electronic devices in the bedroom is critical for promoting regular, healthy sleep. Given all of the “connectivity” of modern life, the bedroom really needs to be protected from daytime influences; it should be a sanctuary for sleep.”
Here are three simple bedtime routines to help you and your family prepare for sleep:
- “Downshift” Before Bedtime – Calming activities like reading or meditating can prepare the body and mind for sleep. Help younger children relax too, by reading to them, engaging them in meditative breathing exercises, or even using their imagination to remember a peaceful place or caliming person. Older children can benefit from the same exercises as well as journaling thoughts and experiences of the day.
- Limit Exposure to Blue-Green Light – At least one hour before bedtime, try to reduce activities like watching TV, computer and smartphone use, and try a more natural light source like candles, a fireplace or lower frequency orange/red lighting.
- Remove All Electronics from the Bedroom – This will help you limit the temptations associated with the ever-present smartphone, computer or other daytime device.
As Dr. Durmer reminds us, the bedroom is not just a place for a bed; it is the one place designated for vital sleep and recovery. Creating a short “down-shift” period before bedtime, removing electronics from the bedroom, limiting exposure to blue-green light and finding sleep-friendly alternatives for your evening are small steps that can help you and your family realize the daily health and functional benefits that only sleep can provide.