Is technology robbing children of their sleep?

Is technology robbing children of their sleep?

With 40% of children as young as six years old using mobile phones, laptops or tablets in the hours leading up to bedtime, it’s no surprise that they could potentially be losing up to 121 hours of sleep a year.

A recent study led by Dr Anna Weighall, a developmental cognitive psychologist, from the University of Sheffield, in conjunction with Silentnight and the University of Leeds, questioned 1,000 UK parents and looked into the effect that bedtime routines have on their children (between the ages of 6 and 11).

Technology can benefit our lives in so many ways, but parents need to be aware of the negative impact it can have on children when it comes to sleep. The presence of tablets and phones in a child’s bedroom, even if they are switched off, can leave them feeling unsettled which will have an effect on their sleeping patterns.

On average, children sleep at least 60 minutes less if technology devices were in the room, compared to those who slept in a tech-free zone.

Dr Anna Weighall says “Good quality sleep is essential for a child’s development, and a lack of sleep can have a very real impact on their day-to-day lives, as well as having long-term health implications.”

Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina adds “It is so important for parents to recognise how essential good quality restorative sleep is for children and the results from this study highlight how one seemingly harmless habit can have a big impact.”

Making sure your children are getting the right amount of sleep is crucial and establishing a regular sleep routine, without mobiles or tablets within the bedroom, will make a big difference to your child’s daily life.

Dr Nerina shares her tips on how to ensure your children are getting a great night’s sleep:

  • Have a nightly bedtime routine
  • Keep technology out of the bedroom and switch off at least 60 minutes before going to sleep.
  • Eat healthily and exercise for 30 minutes a day
  • Drink plenty of water

For more information on getting a great night’s sleep, check out our sleep matters post ‘Ten steps to a great sleep

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