Have you recently fallen victim to a late-night scrolling spiral? You know, when you decide to take a peek at Facebook before bed, and suddenly it’s way past your curfew and you’re 3 years into your best friend’s ex-boyfriend’s feed. (Cute dogs, Steve!)
Yup, you know exactly what I’m talking about! And if you’re anything like me, these happen all too often. And while you may find solace in the scrolling, science has proven that after-dark screen time is seriously bad for shut-eye. According to James Rouse, a naturopathic doctor and sleep doctor, the blue light emitted from technology interrupts the rise and flow of melatonin, strains your eyes and disrupts your circadian cycles, leaving you with an unhealthy night of sleeping.
On top of this, screens, particularly touch screens, can arouse the brain and delay the onset of sleep. Interactive games, especially the ones that kids love, can hyper-arouse the brain and leave your child wide-eyed for longer than expected.
However, as many of you know, calling a screen-free time before bed could cause the meltdown of the century (and nobody wants that just before bed). So, to help avoid those bedtime battles with your kids, we’ve put together a list of some “safe” technologies to use before bed. Sometimes.
Listen to audiobooks or podcasts
Listening to book recordings or podcasts is a great way to use technology before bed without having to worry about your kids losing sleep. This technique is especially useful if your kids are not yet reading independently. It helps them to listen, focus and it can help quiet a busy mind and active body.
Audible and Storynory have some great audiobooks for kids, teens and adults. Common Sense Media also have some great kid-friendly recommendations.
Reading books on an e-reader or Kindle is a great way to incorporate screen-time into your kid’s bedtime routine.
However, it is important to try and use an e-reader that doesn’t emit blue light that could disrupt your kids’ quality of sleep. Stay away from interactive or over-animated ebooks which might excite them. If you don’t have access to an e-reader, many new smartphones have built-in “night modes” which help reduce the amount of blue light emitted from the device. You can read more about the benefits of this function here.
Listen to music
Another great way of using technology to help your kids calm down before bed is to listen to music. Create a playlist or CD of soft, slow music that can aid the onset of sound sleep. Don’t use Youtube or any other online music application because who wants washing powder adverts to interrupt their peaceful nighttime regime, right?
As mentioned above, the use of digital devices before sleep can affect the quality of your kid’s sleep; ideally, you want your kids to be screen-free 30 – 60 minutes before bed. However, in cases where the idea of a no-screen rule just seems like a little too much to ask, a swap to “safe” technology can, in fact, be helpful in bringing on a good night’s sleep for you and your little ones.