3 easy ways to help your son sleep better


I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night. Like most of the digitally-enabled world population, I spent much of the night checking my phone for Facebook, Instagram and news site updates, reading comment upon comment on the US presidential election.

I know I shouldn’t sleep next to my smartphone. I’ve been talking about banning technology from the bedroom for years, but I still haven’t bought that old-school alarm clock…

Then, this morning, I read this Science Daily report on a new study led by researchers from King’s College London, which outlines just how disruptive digital engagement at bedtime is for our kids’ sleep quantity and quality – using portable digital devices around bedtime more than doubles the risk that our kids will have a lousy night’s sleep.

Sleep disturbance in kids is linked to poor health, including obesity, sedative behaviour, reduced immune function and stunted growth. Poor sleep in childhood has even been linked to mental health issues. 

With 89% of adolescents sleeping with at least one device in their bedrooms, this study is a bit of a wakeup call (pun intended).

Here are 3 tips to help your son digitally disengage and sleep better:

  1. In the King’s College sleep study, ‘bedtime use’ was classified as engagement with a device within 90 minutes of going to sleep. So make iPad time a post-school/homework activity and implement a no-phones-at-or-after-dinner rule (make sure you stick to this too).
  1. Researchers also found that the presence of a media device in the bedroom, even without use, was associated with an increased likelihood of poor sleep. So go buy your son one of those old-school alarm clocks I’ve been talking about for so long…
  1. Try a sleep or relaxation meditation before bed. If your son’s mediation comes via an app (such as Smiling Mind or Headspace), make sure you remove the device from the bedroom as soon as the meditation has finished.

The fact is, phones make poor bedfellows. It’s time to banish digital devices from the bedroom. Let’s encourage and model good sleep habits – for the sake of our sons’ health and wellbeing, and our own.

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

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