Now we often hear a lot of information about the negative impact of spending too much time in front of a screen can have, but how many of us know the science behind this?
We’ve decided to provide some insight into this research so you can make an informed decision on the length of time you allow your child to use their gadgets.
Children are growing up in a world where it is now common to have almost unlimited access to TV, iPads, Phones, and Games Consoles from a very young age and we feel an important part of your child’s development is ensuring this is monitored.
Effects on sleep
Reduction in Melatonin – research is now confirming that the blue light emitted from our tools of technology reduces levels of melatonin by activating photoreceptors called ‘intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells’ – which limit the production of melatonin and negatively effects our Circadian Rhythm – a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Given that melatonin is the chemical that informs our body we need sleep, you can see how your child being in front of their iPad or Xbox before bedtime might be effecting how they sleep.
Decrease in HGH Production (Human Growth Hormone) – This is produced in the pituitary gland of the brain and increased levels are proven to raise your mood, cognition, and energy levels through the regulation of leptin and ghrelin (hunger hormones)
We can, therefore, also see how a lack of sleep might seriously be effecting your child’s behaviour, how they perform at school, and even their appetite.
Science shows that 75% of HGH is produced whilst we sleep, so to put it simply, if we aren’t getting enough sleep we aren’t going to feel good.
According to the NHS children need the following amount of sleep every night:
5 year olds – 11 hours
7 year olds – 10.5 hours
9 year olds – 10 hours
11 year olds – 9.5 hours
Adults – 6 to 9 hours
See the full breakdown here –https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-much-sleep-do-kids-need/
The Follow-on effects
It has been proven that a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality impairs productivity, minimises performance, and reduces health and happiness.
The body’s cleansing mechanism (the lymphatic system) only comes into action whilst we sleep. The 3 main functions of this system are to:
- Maintain the balance of fluid between blood and tissues
- Defend against harmful bacteria and other intruders
- Facilitate the absorption of fats in the digestive system
3 Top Tips to counteract these effects
- Schedule a ‘device time’ for 1 hour at least 2-3 hours before your child’s bedtime
- Make their bedroom a device-free zone (No TV, iPads, Computers)
- Read with them in the last hour before they sleep
What are we doing?
We pride ourselves on being a ‘device free’ zone. We like to ensure our children are stimulating their mind in a more positive manner via outdoor exercise, educational games, or structured play when attending any of our breakfast, after school, or holiday club sessions.
Our engaging and supportive staff will regularly deliver educational activities that will enhance a child’s development and hopefully improve their performance in the classroom.
By Ryan Harris