How screen use affects sleep
Your child needs enough good-quality sleep so they can play, learn and concentrate during the day.
Using screens can affect how quickly your child falls asleep and how long your child sleeps. This happens for several reasons:
- Screen use in the hour before bed can stimulate your child.
- Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones and tablets might suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness.
- Your child might be tempted to stay up late to chat to friends or play games, or your child might be disturbed in the night by notifications, messages or calls.
Reducing the effects of screen time on sleep
Here are some ways you can reduce the negative effect of screen time on your child’s sleep:
- Avoid screen use in the hour before bedtime. This includes mobile phones, tablets, computer screens and TV. Encourage reading or quiet play instead.
- Limit and monitor violent content at any time of day. This can affect sleep regardless of the time and length of use.
- Encourage your child to connect with friends during the day rather than late in the evening.
- Have a family rule that mobile phones and other devices are left in a family room overnight.
How much sleep do children need?
If you’re concerned about how much sleep your child is getting, it can help to know that children need less sleep as they get older, but teenagers still need more sleep than adults:
- Preschooler sleep needs: children aged 3-5 years need 10-13 hours of sleep a night.
- School-age sleep needs: at this age children need 9-11 hours sleep a night.
- Teenage sleep needs: teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep a night.