Routines are an excellent way to help make the transition from being awake, to falling asleep. For infants and children, a typical bedtime routine should last approximately 20-30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to modify routines as your child passes through ages and stages to help better prepare them for sleep. It’s important to include elements that help to calm and prepare your child for sleep. It’s equally important to eliminate elements from a bedtime routine that may interfere with their ability to initiate sleep.
If you’re experiencing some difficulty around your child’s bedtime, or even wondering for yourself, ‘why cant I sleep?’ , the use of electronics may be a factor that you haven’t considered yet.
Ways to help you sleep – a bedtime for electronic devices
Even with a predictable and regular bedtime routine, the ability to initiate sleep may be impacted by the use of electronics too close to bedtime. Non-screen related activities are encouraged for children as much as two hours before bed. Instead of watching TV or playing computer/video games, consider introducing a puzzle or board game that the family can enjoy together. Younger children may enjoy playing with sticker books, building sets or sensory-based activities.
How do electronics impact sleep?
Current research suggests that the blue light emitting from electronics can affect natural sleep rhythms by interfering with the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps to induce sleep. Children, and adults alike, may experience a decrease in the duration and quality of sleep, even though the set time for bed is a reasonable one. The lack of quality sleep can carry over into the next day and have a negative impact on a child’s ability to concentrate, store new information, regulate their emotions and maintain coordination.
The take away.
Using electronics before bed is bad for sleep initiation. As you identify and make positive changes in media use for your children before bedtime, challenge yourself to make some changes for your routine as well.
Learn more about how to make the best bedroom for sleep for your child.
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Rebecca is an infant and child sleep consultant and founder of The Sugar Plum Sleep Co. She is an only child (because she never slept as an infant), a mother of two young boys and an HGTV addict.