The evidence that exposure to video games disrupts children’s sleep is mounting. With one in ten children in North America having sleep difficulties, there is now more reason then ever to unplug your youngster before their sleep quality begins to affect their cognitive development.
Video games may supply educational scenarios and advanced problem solving queries, but they also increase your child’s heart rate and blood pressure. Even hours after gaming, a child’s heart can still be reeling from the effects of digital interaction. It is no wonder that when it’s time to go to bed, many children are too wired from gameplay to fall asleep properly. As a result, their restorative sleep suffers.
Compounded with the stimulation factor, is the ability of brightly lit screens to reduce melatonin levels. For all humans, no matter their age, a bright screen creates an unnatural light that the eye absorbs. A message is sent to the brain to halt production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. The artificial light convinces the eye that the body needs to stay alert. Instead of preparing for sleep, the brain is on full alert mode.
Even if a child is able to sleep eight to ten hours, the sleep they are getting is less than optimal. The body’s ability to move into deep sleep mode is stunted when overly stimulated. As a result, the restorative sleep cycle is cut short. This gives the brain less time to recharge. Children wake with their bodies rested but their minds still wired.
Parents can stop the vicious cycle of sleep depravation by limiting or reducing all exposure to electronic games. Children may complain at first, but their overall mood, concentration and mental potential will improve drastically. They will also engage in more creative and meaningful play without their devices.