While the connection between poor sleep and bedroom TVs is well-established, the effect of small screens — smartphones, iPods, tablets, or other small-screen devices — on kids’ sleep hasn’t been studied until recently. A report released in January 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that they’re just as worrisome – but for different reasons than TVs.
Television’s glare and volume obviously robs kids of sleep, but a small screen can inhibit sleep in other ways: by occupying kids when they should be sleeping, keeping their brains and bodies alert with interactivity, throwing off their natural sleep rhythm, and interrupting sleep with notifications. In the study, kids reported not sleeping as well and feeling as though they didn’t get enough rest when they snoozed near a small screen.
Staying up too late can make kids cranky — but there are real health risks, too. Obesity, poor school performance, even behavioral problems can stem from inadequate sleep. It’s not always possible to clear the bedroom of all screens — but instruct your kids to turn them off, download apps that disable the device at bedtime, and charge devices in your room at night to help your kids get the rest they need.