Many parents are invested in how television impacts their children, particularly the content of the programs. But did you know that watching TV could also affect kids’ sleeping habits?
Sleep is essential for living a healthy life, and kids and teens need even more rest than their adult counterparts. For this reason, parents should understand how TV affects their child’s sleep.
We will examine television’s impact on kids. Plus, we will provide helpful strategies to ensure your child is well-rested.
What are the effects of TV on children’s sleep habits?
TV is not responsible for all sleep disturbances in children, but it probably will play a role with some kids.
A 2019 study found that young children who watched higher amounts of television had shorter sleep durations and diminished sleep quality. Additionally, kids with TVs in their bedrooms showed worse results and were more likely to watch television later at night and consume grown-up programming.
There are several factors as to why television can have a negative impact on kids’ sleeping habits.
TVs and similar tech gadgets are stimulating, which prevents the release of the calming hormone melatonin. More specifically, the light from screens tricks our brains into thinking it’s still daytime, so we remain alert and awake when we should be falling asleep.
TVs are also anxiety-producing for some children, especially because commercials often target young audiences and promote unhealthy foods and drinks. Plus, bright screens can be hard on kids’ eyes, which could make sleeping more difficult.
How does TV affect your child’s brain?
Television is likely to have an impact on your child’s brain, too. For example, the more we are exposed to TVs and other screen devices, the more we become reliant on them.
Furthermore, a 2018 study found that kids who spent time in front of a screen scored lower on reading and arithmetic skills and were less likely to excel or do well academically. They may also have trouble making friends and connecting with their peers since more technology exposure may lower emotional intelligence.
Ways to reduce the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen
As a parent, it may be difficult sometimes to make sure your little one isn’t glued to the TV all day and night. However, there are some things you can do to help create balance and reduce screen time.
For example, encourage them to play outdoors more often, whether in the backyard or the local park. A great way to promote outdoor playtime at home is to provide them with activities to do outside, like setting up a swing set or a small jungle gym.
If there are other kids in the neighbourhood, try to find ways to allow your child to connect with them. Children have incredible imaginations, especially when they can play with their peers, which can help them feel less inclined to stay in front of the TV screen.
Books are also an excellent way to help kids wind down before bed without a screen. Even if your child is too young to read yet, you can read to them instead, which is also a terrific opportunity for some special bonding time with your little one.
Strategies for getting your kids to go to bed at a reasonable hour
Getting children to sleep early is an arduous task that requires some extra finesse. You should identify what factors keep them up later than they should be, so you can figure out how to help them get the rest they require.
Make sure their room is dark and that the temperature is not too hot or cold. If there is noise nearby from neighbours or other outside sources, consider investing in a white noise machine or other sound-blocking technology.
Sometimes a child may struggle to go to bed because of nightmares. If this is the case, you can help them by providing comforting objects such as special blankets or stuffed toys. They should also avoid watching scary shows or movies, as these could trigger nightmares.
Tips for improving the quality and duration of sleep
One way to help your child sleep better is to make sure their bed is comfortable. If their current bed is not a good fit, consider buying a mattress that is better suited for them. Plus, getting a new bed can be exciting for children and will likely give them an incentive to go to bed on time.
Earlier, we mentioned providing more opportunities for your child to play outside. Not only does this get them away from television screens, but it should help them sleep better. Going outside often allows them to absorb natural light, which regulates their internal clock for night and day. Plus, they are using more energy, which should help them feel more tired at night.