Don’t let your phone steal your sleep

Is your teen’s phone stealing her sleep? What about you? How is your sleep hygiene?

Doctors and sleep specialists say that our nighttime  screen habits can be a culprit in disrupting sleep. The light our screens give off (esp. if we are close to them) may be suppressing melatonin (a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep and wake cycle). Also, checking our texts and social updates and the worst…work email…That’s going to keep your mind active and stresseing.

Sleep is critical to our physical and mental well-being. So turn it off. Unplug. Go on Airplane mode.

As with any tech habit, modeling the behaviors you want to see your kids adopt is crucial.

Are you going to sleep at a time that feels good for you and your body? Do you check your phone right before going to bed? Where do your phones stay at night? If your children climb into your bed for snuggles on a Sunday morning, are they climbing over a web of chargers and wires?

Here are some ideas to help you and your family put sleep first and build a healthy sleep routine:

  • Where do devices live?If kids say they need phones to wake them up, get them a cheap, simple alarm clocks.
  • The best place for devices to go to sleep overnight is outside of bedrooms. Consider a charging station in the kitchen or your home office.
  • For young adults in dorms, they aren’t going to charge “downstairs” so…Ieast encourage them to set phones on airplane or night mode to ensure no notifications dinging in the middle of the night.
  • Unplug 60-90 minutes before bed, figure out what’s realistic for your family, and consider your kids’ age.
  • Recreational screentime on a device across the room like the TV is better before bed than a handheld device that’s close to your eyes. If you’re watching TV before bed, a fun show will be less stressful than scrolling social media or checking grades!Set an example for your family:
    • Set up regular waking and sleeping schedules.
    • Create a relaxing habit before bed — read or play board games.
    • Set the tone in your home with some soothing music or scents like lavender.
    • Decide device shut-off times for all family members — and remember to model this first!
    • Choose where to keep devices during sleep — in your bedroom on airplane mode if you don’t have a landline? In the kitchen at your charging station?Notice the first thing you do on your device when you get up in the morning:
      • Do you silence your alarm and then go straight to social media?
      • Do you start checking emails and looking at your calendar?
      • What could you try instead to help you ease into your day? Perhaps it’s an inspiring podcast or uplifting playlist

Sleep routines will likely change throughout the year. Before vacations, days off school, and weekends, decide how you’ll continue to prioritize sleep — helping you set yourself up for an energizing day — every day.

Want to learn more about teens and sleep? Check out Lisa Lewis’s excellent new book The Sleep Deprived Teen.

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