Blue light – Why is it keeping your child up?

I think we all know this feeling, as a parent sometimes we  just need a little break from our kids. Nothing wrong with that. Depending on the age of your child, they can not always entertain themselves for a longer period of time. Screentime often does the trick. Your child is calm and focused and loves it. But what many parents don’t know is that a lot of screen time / blue light distributed during the day and before going to bed results in poor sleep and a longer time to fall asleep.

Why no blue light bad before going to bed?

Nightmare or night terror?Nightmare or night terror?The nervous system of young children is quickly overstimulated. With a lot of media consumption, it could quickly have a negative impact on the upcoming sleep. It is difficult for your child to process everything they see on TV. Often they are still busy processing it in their sleep. Nightmares and / or night terrors happen more likely if there was a lot of media consumption during the day or just before bedtime. Not sure what’s the difference between a nightmare and a night terror, have a look at my article “Nightmare or night terror”

By now there are many scientists and sleep researchers who have found that blue light suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin more than any other type of light and thus brings our internal clock out of rhythm. Watching TV has a high amount of blue light and activates our brain and activity. For example, you can compare it to having a coffee. Would you let your child have a coffee before going to bed? No right?

What is melatonin?

Melatonin, also called  the “sleep hormone”. This hormone is produced in the brain and ensures that we become tired and sleepy. Depending on the time of day, more or less of it is produced. Perhaps you have already noticed that you are more tired in the evening in winter compared to summer. This is partly due to the fact that it gets dark earlier in winter. The melatonin level is highest at night because it is dark. A lot of light and, above all, blue light can then be very confusing for our day/night sleep rhythm.

Trouble sleeping through the night

If there was too much blue light during the day, children as well as adults, can have difficulties falling asleep. It can also cause a superficial sleep. Sleeping through the night is more difficult as well. Because of the constant waking up, your child cannot really recover and regenerate. 

How can you protect yourself and your child from blue lights?

  • It is best not to let your child watch TV or Tablet 2-3 hours before going to bed. Avoid media consumption as much as possible if your child is under 3 years of age.
  •  If your child is watching TV, you may need special glasses that filter out the blue light. By now there are also many funny glasses for toddlers that filter the blue light.
  • Blue light filter apps are now available on mobile phones or tablets, or you can often adjust them directly in the settings. Like this the blue light on the display is dimmed.
  • Use the daylight! If you are active and fit during the day it will help well for the day-night rhythm.
  • Make sure that the night lamp has a warm light without blue light. This way more melatonin is released and your child will get tired faster during the bedtime ritual.
  • Take enough time for the bedtime ritual. A good 20-30 minutes in a darkened bedroom helps to release more melatonin. In addition, your child gets 100% your attention and lots of cuddles, which makes them feel loved and secure. This will help your child relax and become more sleepy. 

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