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Dr. Anthony Rieder talks electronic devices and their impact on sleep

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MILWAUKEE -- Did you know that using your phone or tablet before bed could affect your sleep? Dr. Anthony Rieder with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare joins FOX6 WakeUp to talk about what you and your kids can do to help ensure a good night’s rest.

Elelctronic devices and their impact on sleep

Studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness. As adults we are subject to these influences but children and teens are particularly susceptible.

 Children, Electronics and Sleep

The increasing prevalence of electronics in children’s bedrooms creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness. Literature shows that:

  • Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bed times, experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.
  • Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bed times, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times.
  • Texting and emailing after lights outs, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.
  • Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children and their work is often completed on the computer, a significant light source late in the evening.
  • Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules and the lure of entertainment conspire to keep our children electronically engaged at night.
  • Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements.
  • Both mental activity and light exposure promote wakefulness.
  • Living in our 24/7 society, there is a loss of the evening’s reduction in light that has traditionally cued our brains to “wind down” for sleep.
  • The use of electronic devices in the bedroom disrupts the natural pattern of the sleep-wake cycle.  Blue light suppresses melatonin.

Adequate sleep is essential for:

  • Growth
  • Learning
  • Mood
  • Creativity
  • Weight control

Insufficient sleep is associated with:

  • Impaired cognition and learning
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Daytime fatigue
  • A wide range of health problems
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