You’ve probably heard that too much screen time before bed can lead to insomnia. And you’ve probably ignored this advice on more than one occasion because, well, Facebook helps you ‘wind down.’ Here’s some new research that won’t be as easy to disregard, though: Pre-slumber screen time is even worse for your kids than it is for you. Electronic light lowers levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone, at a much higher rate for brains, which are not yet fully developed.
Researchers were unable to prove that bright light before bedtime causes adolescents to get less sleep, however study co-author said Mary Carskadon says “young children exposed to light at bedtime saw their melatonin production suppressed. And this could cause sleep rhythms to be affected in a way that causes children to stay up later, which is exactly what adolescents need not to be doing.”
Since melatonin is involved in a wide variety of bodily processes, the implications of this metabolic shift could end up reaching well beyond sleep/wake cycles—but it’s too soon to tell. "So be safe rather than sorry, and blame your newfound parental resolve on science. Have you created any ‘rules’ around bedtime technology use for your family? Has foregoing the phone helped you sleep better?