Smart Phones and Sleep Deprivation

Much research is going on to investigate the impact of smart phone technology on pupils’ wellbeing.

There is no doubt that many of today’s apps are addictive and interfere with students’ learning – but, just as importantly, their sleep. 

How many of us are guilty of checking texts and emails last thing at night? Or watching TV in bed?

No wonder our children are guilty of the same bad habits!

Scientists have long been warning against using light-emitting devices, such as mobile phones,
e-readers and TVs before bed, which affect the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Much better to read a book or a magazine and switch off all electronics an hour or two before turning in.

When people read on a tablet (rather than a book), or work on a laptop in the evening, it takes them longer to fall asleep; plus, they tend to have less REM sleep (when dreams occur) and wake up feeling sleepier — even after eight hours.

Changes in sleep patterns can shift the body’s natural clock, known as its circadian rhythm, and shifts in this ‘clock’ can have devastating health effects.

This is an especially big problem for teens whose circadian rhythms are already shifting naturally, causing them to feel awake later at night. 

No wonder we end up with sleep-deprived or poorly rested kids who have essentially given themselves something akin to jet lag.

This is where we are asking for our parents’ and carers’ help!

There are good reasons to impose a digital curfew on your kids. It’s not just mum and dad being mean!  

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

  • Get your teens to power down their electronics, including the TV, an hour or two before bedtime so their bodies can start producing more melatonin. 
  • If that’s not possible — if they’re madly finishing their homework on a computer, for instance—it helps to dim the brightness on the screen. 
  • Install an app that automatically warms up the colours on the screen—away from blues and toward reds and yellows—such as Koala or Night Mode
  • Avoid using energy-efficient (blue) bulbs in nightlights in bedrooms and bathrooms; opt for dim red lights instead because red light has a higher wavelength and does not suppress the release of melatonin.

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