Nowadays, it is rare to find a teenager that isn’t constantly glued to their smartphone. But with the continuous rise in technological advances, lots specifically targeting them, can we really blame them for being so addicted?
We all know that too much time spent in front of devices is a bad thing; affecting social skills, healthy activity and concentration, but did you know it can also impact on the sleeping patterns of a teenager?
Is your teen constantly tired, losing the inclination to play sport or sluggish at practices? Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at their cell phone habits before bedtime to check for the following problems.
- Light and day. Our “body clock” uses light to determine whether we should be awake or getting sleepy. Watching TV and using devices at night causes the photoreceptors in our eyes to think that it is still daytime. Over time, using our cell phones before we go to sleep can change our sleeping patterns; resulting in trouble falling asleep.
- Brain activity. Constant texting and playing games on a phone before bedtime is like an energy drink for the brain – it keeps it stimulated and wide awake. Once it is in this overstimulated state, it cannot simply switch itself off, resulting in a tired mind but busy thought processes.
- Hormonal blues. Blue light, emitted from all screens, reduces melatonin production (the sleeping hormone) causing problems with getting to sleep and staying asleep.
But what can a parent do to get their techno-hungry teen to take a break before bedtime? Try implementing these adjustments to their bedtime routine while you still can – once they leave home, they will thank you for teaching them the art of switching off!
- The best rule of all is to eliminate phones, TV’s and tablets from the bedroom an hour before bedtime. Incorporate this into their routine as early as possible.
- At night, tone down the light of their cell phone screen to reduce blue light. Some phones have a night time setting that automatically does this for you if turned on.
- Set the phone to silent and turn off notifications to ensure that sleep is not disrupted. You can also turn off mobile data or switch the phone off at night.
- Introduce healthy bedtime habits like reading a book.
FOMO is often their biggest fear but you can assure your teen that they won’t be missing out on anything in the middle of the night. Keep practicing these healthy tech-habits and eventually your teen will feel refreshed, energised and ready for schoolwork and sport.