The increasing prevalence of electronics in children’s bedrooms creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness.
Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes, experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.
Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bedtimes, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times.
Texting and emailing after lights outs, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.
Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children and their work is often completed on the computer, a significant light source late in the evening.
Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules and the lure of entertainment conspire to keep our children electronically engaged at night.
Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control. Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom.