Has March Madness struck your house yet? When you live in a college town and your university made it to the Final Four, the excitement is hard to miss. But what does screen time have to do with the Final Four? It's an ingredient that helped one college team take their game to the next level.
According to Time Magazine, basketball players at Texas Tech University started limiting their screen time use each night during away games - screens go off at 11 p.m. and players collect devices in order to limit nighttime interruptions. Players instituted this policy building upon previous practices of avoiding smartphone use during team meals and retreats.
So how does screen time impact sleep? The negative impact screen-based device use has on sleep is well-documented within the research. A study by Wahnschaffe and colleagues (2013) suggests that the light emitted by screens impacts the body's melatonin and increases our level of alertness. Though, it's important to also point out that the study found that nighttime light from other light sources increased alertness as well. Other researchers found that both parents and children who sleep with screen-based devices in their bedrooms report more frequent difficulties sleeping (Buxton, et al., 2015).
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends that kids and adolescents avoid using screen-based devices, such as televisions, smart phones, tablets, etc., an hour before going to bed and avoid sleeping with these devices in their bedrooms
This is good advice for us all, as these effects are not limited to children. Healthy device starts with us. Whether we realize it or not, children are turning a watchful eye to see how we are using our devices. So set a bedtime for your devices and tuck them before winding down and heading off to bed yourself.
American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media.
(2016). Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(5). doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-2592
Buxton, O. M., Chang, A. M., Spilsbury, J. C., Bos, T., Emsellem, H., & Knutson,
K. L. (2015). Sleep in the modern family: protective family routines for
child and adolescent sleep. Sleep Health, 1(1), 15-27.
Wahnschaffe, A., Haedel, S., Rodenbeck, A., Stoll, C., Rudolph, H., Kozakov, R.,
... & Kunz, D. (2013). Out of the lab and into the bathroom: Evening
short-term exposure to conventional light suppresses melatonin and
increases alertness perception. International Journal of Molecular
Sciences, 14(2), 2573-2589.