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So, why is using your smart phone before bed bad? There have been a lot of studies undertaken in recent years about the effect of teenagers sleeping with their smartphones, or similar devices near to their beds. Is this necessarily a bad thing, and what problems could it cause?
We asked Lisa Artis, from the Sleep Council what she thought. Her views on this topic were:
“According to a study that found children who slept next to smartphones or similar devices, those children got 20.6 fewer minutes of sleep on weekdays compared to children who didn’t have them in their bedrooms. Those children were also more likely to say they felt like they hadn’t gotten enough sleep.”
The study also looked at TVs in the bedroom and found that children who slept in a room with a TV reported 18 fewer minutes of sleep than those without a TV, on par with other studies. And it was reported that children went to sleep later too – by 37 minutes.
One-point Lisa made was that the study didn’t look into what was causing the sleep loss and tiredness — whether the kids were actually using the devices exposing themselves to light and stimulating content or whether getting notifications or messages during the night interrupted sleep.Either way – and to be honest, it’s probably a combination of both – gadgets need to be out of the bedroom. This is something we, as a company dealing with sleep disturbance issues among young people, recognise and certainly agree with.
In fact, the latest research is so strong, experts believe health watchdogs should overhaul guidelines for electronic device use by youngsters regarding the quantity and timing of electronic media use.
And that’s maybe not a bad idea! Technology has come a long way and we still don’t know the long term effects of what it is doing to sleep. And it’s all new to parents too – who, let’s face it, are as guilty as using their phones/tablets in the hours before bed too! Sleep education is so important for parents and for children. We teach our kids about eating healthy and exercising yet we don’t talk about sleep. And we must. As technology increases and improves, now’s the time to look at your child or teen’s sleep habits. It’s not too late to change.
As always it was great to discuss this important topic with Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council. Sleep hygiene is such an important topic. Snuggle Sac have been working with sleep experts for over 18 years and are well aware of the devastating impacts on families disrupted sleep patterns can cause. It isn’t just the child’s own health, wellbeing and schooling which is affected. It can be the other siblings and parents who start to suffer with broken sleep too.