Sleep is good. Not only does it keep you refreshed, it can also help you stay healthy.
Not sleeping enough can lead to a lack in judgment, a poor mood, and even various health issues like obesity and diabetes. High quality, uninterrupted sleep is especially important for children as they continue to develop, but technology can make it harder for kids to get a proper good night’s rest.
What Kids Need
According to the U.S. National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, preteen school-aged children require 10 hours of sleep per day and teenagers should get at least nine hours of sleep on a regular basis.
Of course, that’s not just a light snooze that’s recommended; slow deep-wave sleep is the most restorative form of rest.
What Keeps Kids Awake
With technology constantly evolving, we now have many different ways to access information, watch videos, and play games. Children now have more access to smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices and can keep themselves awake long into the night because of them.
Like with TV, studies have shown that late-night smartphone and tablet usage can not only keep your kids up later and make them sleep less, but can also throw off their circadian rhythm, an internal clock that manages sleep cycles.
Blue Light vs. Orange Light
Recent research looking at the causes of poor sleep have shown a relationship between blue light and poor sleep.
Blue light is plentiful in our homes due to TVs, phones, and home lighting. Blue light after sunset can cause issues with normal pineal gland function (the pineal gland produces melatonin) and disrupt sleep rhythms. Centuries ago, the sources of light available to us included campfires, candles, and lanterns all of which were heavy with orange light (aka the good light). Blue light during the day is good, but blue light at night interferes with sleep.
So how do we get more orange light at night? You should wear orange glasses for 3 to 5 hours before sleep. Orange glasses are inexpensive and available at amazon. They are also available for people who wear glasses. Finally, there are apps for the iPhone to lower blue wavelengths on the screen, so wear your orange glasses and get some rest.
What You Can Do to Help
Establish some ground rules for how late your children can use their smartphones or tablets. Instead of staring at a glowing screen minutes before they go to sleep, try having your kids read a book or listen to calming music while they get ready for bed.
If you’ve noticed that your children haven’t been sleeping well or any other behavioral problems, call us at 440-353-1008 or contact us online.
Dr. Mark Gipson, M.D., Pediatrics
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.