OUR YOUNG PEOPLE are spending an inordinate amount of time in front of screens — yes, those handheld devices that beep, ping and tweet.
A large-scale poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2013 found that 72 percent of children and 89 percent of teens have at least one electronic device in their sleep environment. The same report found that most of that technology is used near bedtime.
Parents should take note! These electronic gadgets are negatively impacting our children’s sleep. They’re resulting in “Junk Sleep.” What is “Junk Sleep?” It’s sleep that is neither of the length nor of the quality needed for the brain to get adequate rest so it can perform properly at school.
According to a poll of 1,000 teens conducted by the Sleep Council, 30 percent got only 4-7 hours of sleep and 25 percent said they fell asleep while watching or listening to a gadget. In the findings, the Sleep Council said “junk sleep could rival the consumption of unhealthy junk food as a major lifestyle issue for parents of teenage children.”
Sleep is crucial for children’s wellness. It plays a pivotal role in the development of the brain, memory, attention, immune function and much more.
As a parent, what can you do to ensure that your child gets a great night’s sleep?
1. Remove items that interfere with sleep — that includes electronics, TV and all handheld devices.
2. Remove electronics 30 minutes before bedtime to help your child transition to sleep.
3. Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
4. Keep his or her bedroom cool and comfy.
5. Establish a bedtime routine.
6. Create a quiet, calm and relaxing atmosphere with dimmed lights, peaceful music and soothing scented diffusers.
Here’s to your health!