JAMA Pediatrics published a report on how mobile and electronic devices affect child sleep. It found that half of all children who used a mobile device just before bed had trouble falling asleep and getting good quality of sleep - compared to a third who don’t keep those same devices in their room.
Kids without mobile phones and tablets in their rooms sleep longer and better, get to sleep quicker and are less tired during the day.
It’s not just that they might be staying up late on their phones. More research suggests that using an electronic screen before sleep is itself causing the problem.
The same is true for adults. While good sleep is essential for growing youngsters and can have serious effects on their health and future, adults tend to write off fatigue and sleep deprivation as normal.
But sleep deprivation in adults can cause stress, depression, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention mood swings, irritability, lack of concentration and being at extra risk of accidents.
Why does using a mobile phone or tablet before bed disrupt sleep though? As well as keeping your brain active and running on all cylinders, obsessively checking social media and generating anxiety even if you think you are relaxing and unwinding before bed, your brain is getting the opposite signals.
The light coming from your phone’s screen is in the blue part of the spectrum - the same as the sun. And it is the cycle of light and dark - the circadian rhythm - that signals our body that it is time to sleep. Darkness releases the sleep hormone melatonin in the brain. By basking in the blue glow of your phone screen you are mimicking daylight and your body does not know it is time to sleep.
Keeping electronic out of a child’s bedroom is one thing, keeping them away from adults is another. If anything we use our phones more in the evenings, with heavy users checking their phone every six seconds. Sometimes, late at night is the only time we have to catch up on the news or with friends on social media, or we have to squeeze in some last minute work emails or watching cat videos and browsing celebrity gossip really does help us relax.
The solution isn’t to banish your phone but to stop it damaging your sleep. WaveWall Sleep is a blue light filter and screen protector that blocks the blue light and lets you get a good night’s sleep even with your phone.
Do you feel like you get enough sleep? Do you think your mobile phone might be to blame?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!