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Screen Time Tips for Better Sleep

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May 21, 2024

Unlock this lesson to learn more about Screen Time Tips for Better Sleep

This screen time sleep guide will help parents learn:

  • Alternatives to screen time late at night
  • Top concerns of screen time and sleep
  • Conversations to have with your teen about screen time at night

Learn why parents and educators should know about screen time tips for better sleep

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com Screen Time tips for Better Sleep about!

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Screen Time Tips for Better Sleep

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Screens and phones tend to be our constant companions. These devices and apps keep us connected and make everything more convenient, but they can also make it hard for us to unplug. For teens, it can be doubly problematic. Studies have found an underlying biology that makes them prone to staying up late. As a result, teens might not be getting the sleep they need for optimal alertness and concentration during the day.

Studies show the quality and consistency of an adolescent’s sleep is just as important to their overall health as the amount (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics). In this guide, we will dive into the ways screens are affecting teens' sleep and ways to combat late-night screen time.

Educators and parents: Guide your students' reflection and discussion with this student worksheet. (Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

Why do students want to be on screens late at night?

  • They don’t want to miss a post or comment on social media
  • Teens claim evening screen time can help them relax and unwind before bed
  • They are in the middle of a show or trying to beat a level on a game
  • Screens, particularly social media, stimulate the release of dopamine resulting in teens wanting to continuously check their phones for another release

Parent & Educator Training Video

Screen Time and Sleep in the News

Digital screens emit sleep-disrupting blue light, feed us instant and addictive entertainment and encourage stress-inducing “doom-scrolling” (which has, at this point, become a national pastime). - Forbes
Research in the Journal of Adolescent Health demonstrates that adolescents at age 15 who used screens to communicate with friends or play video games in the hour before bed took 30 minutes longer to fall asleep than if they had refrained from interactive screen time. …For each hour during the day that kids spent playing video games beyond their usual amount, their sleep was delayed by about 10 minutes. - News Medical

Why should parents & educators care?

  • Checking your phone, or engaging in screen time, stimulates your brain in a way that keeps your mind more active and awake long after the screen is off
  • The blue light released from a phone mimics daylight and can affect the internal body clock and may trigger your teen’s body to release less melatonin at night (Source: Cleveland Clinic)
  • Screen time before bed can lead to less deep sleep each night making us feel tired, easily lose concentration, and have difficulties retaining information (Source: Rise)

What can parents & educators do?

  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine by incorporating healthy sleep habits and activities that don’t involve blue light emitting devices
  • Set electronic devices to “nighttime mode.” This setting reduces blue light emissions and decreases the display’s brightness setting
  • Remove televisions and gaming consoles from your teen's room and have a place outside of their bedroom for them to place their phone at night

Alternatives to unplugging all the screens in your house after dark

example of amber colored glasses

Wear amber-colored glasses before bed

With orange or amber-tinted lenses, they’re designed to protect your eyes from the blue-wavelength light that decreases melatonin and interferes with sleep. So far, the research on these inexpensive glasses looks promising. According to Reuters, a Swiss study observed that “teen boys who used computers and other digital devices while wearing (blue-blocker) glasses every evening for a week felt markedly more relaxed and sleepy at bedtime.”

Use warm-light light bulbs

GE has ventured beyond electronic screens to design a product for use anywhere in the house. Their Align LED technology includes specially designed “PM Bulbs” designed to mimic natural candlelight without disrupting sleep circadian rhythm. The bulbs also feature an AM version to promote wakefulness in the morning.

The GE Align PM Lighting Bulb retails for $19.99 at Amazon

Experiment with other light-filtering products

In addition to glasses and light bulbs, the website LowBlueLights also features novel light-filtering products for nighttime use such as “low-blue” flashlights, acrylic, press-on screen filters, and more.

Use Night Shift features on your phone and tablets

With Night Shift, Apple uses your location and determines the right time to automatically shift your iPhone or iPad screen from blue to a warmer, yellow tone. This app could vastly improve the sleep for those who use their phones in bed.

Limiting screen time at night is great in theory but can be hard to enforce

If you like to cap off your own evening by reading a good e-book in bed, don’t fool yourself that it’s any better than your son or daughter watching YouTube late at night. Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang noted when she and her colleagues examined the effects of reading on a light-emitting device versus a printed book, people using devices took longer to fall asleep and had less REM sleep.

Best Blue Light Glasses on Amazon

Additional Resources for Parents, Students, & Educators

The Impact of Screen Time on Motivation

Does Your Teen Have a Burner Phone? | What Parents Need to Know About Secret Cell Phones

Best Screen Time Apps for Students

10 Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction

How Parents Can Monitor Kids Online (Without Being Intrusive)

Conclusion

Screens have many positive uses for teens and adults alike. Excessive use especially in the evenings can significantly impact our sleep. It is important to establish screen free nighttime routines and set boundaries with your family to ensure everyone in the house is getting the most out of their sleep.

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Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Unlock this lesson to learn more about Screen Time Tips for Better Sleep

This screen time sleep guide will help parents learn:

  • Alternatives to screen time late at night
  • Top concerns of screen time and sleep
  • Conversations to have with your teen about screen time at night

Learn why parents and educators should know about screen time tips for better sleep

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com Screen Time tips for Better Sleep about!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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