Screen time and sleep disorder in children

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Kidslox team


Electronic devices cause sleep disorder in children

Many of us used to read books before turning out the light and falling asleep. But today smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices like e-readers are deeply integrated into our lives. The growing popularity of social media, news apps, and online services makes us not just to take our electronic devices everywhere during the day but even to the bed. And this is quite a big problem because blue spectrum light of smartphones’ and tablets’ screens causes excitability in adults and sleep disorder in children. Exposure to a smartphone screen is very often associated with  lower quality of sleep, nightmares, and morning depression. 

Multiple studies show that electronic devices affect negatively children’s sleep. Adults are in the risk group as well. The general rule in this case is “the more screen time – the less sleep time or less productive screen time”.

How it works: screen light and melatonin

According to experts, our hormone called melatonin is very sensitive to screen light. The light produced by phones and tablets suppresses it. As a result, using gadgets before sleep can cause insomnia and other sleep disorders. Extensive use of gadgets before going to bed can also negatively affect the sleep preparation.

Scientists say that good performance during the day is directly linked to the quality of our sleep. If a person sleeps not enough or the sleep is not deep enough, the immune system is being gradually destroyed. This can result in frequent headaches, lack of appetite or even mental disorders. Children and young people may experience some problems with concentration the next day which is not good for their ability to study.

The temptation to take gadget to bed

Since long screen time is directly linked to counter-productive sleep, researchers strongly recommend putting gadgets as far from the bed as possible, especially when it’s about children. But many applications are so involving and are designed to fully absorb our attention. As a result, we often do not notice how much time we spend at the screen.  

Furthermore, some companies are using the idea of children staying at the screen all the night as the advertisement of their products which have no direct connection to electronic devices (like nighttime underwear).  

How to avoid sleep disorder in children and adults – 9 useful tips

If you really have to answer an important mail better use the device with the small screen. It is the amount of light (especially from the blue part of the spectrum) that reaches your retina really matters. It means that iPad or Android tablet will affect you more and cause sleep disorder more likely than iPhone or another smartphone.

Also, the closer gadget is to your eyes the more light comes into your brain, technically speaking. So it is better to check new messages and notifications while holding your gadget at arm’s length.

Reduce the brightness of your screen. The intensity, the color, the duration, and the nature of the light are important parameters. And the brighter light is the stronger is its impact on your eyes and brain, and the bigger is the chance of your or your child’s sleep disorder.

Some devices have the so-called ‘night mode’ when the brightness is less, and the light consists of longer waves which affect our physical reactions less.

Use devices without backlight like Kindle while reading books or some documents. Then you might probably need a lamp, and therefore the next advice is to use a good lamp with the ’warm light’.

Do not use gadgets at least two hours before the bedtime. Our bodies start to produce melatonin approximately two hours prior the sleep time and it will be a wise decision to stay away from screen time during this period.

Limit your screen time. This is just common sense. Reducing screen time will cause you to be less addicted to your gadget, and the temptation to spend the whole night at the screen will be not that strong.

Install parental control application on your device and your children’s devices to limit screen time and schedule phone shut down couple hours before your typical bedtime.

Spend more time outside. There are a lot of things you can do in the open air with your kids. The paradoxical thing is that our bodies do need so-called ‘blue light’ to function properly. And if you receive it during the daytime, our bodies will be less sensitive to it when it’s time to go to bed.  


If you follow these simple rules you will relieve your bodies from extra stress and excitation will fall asleep much easier and will wake up more refreshed and renewed. These rules if applied to your kids will help them to have a better sleep and be more active during daytime; will make positive effect on their learning ability, physical and mental health.