Turning off electronics helps kids sleep better: Study

 Children who leave electronic devices on at night sleep up to one hour less on average per night, a new US study has found.

Washington: Children who leave electronic devices on at night sleep up to one hour less on average per night, a new US study has found.

Sleep, or lack thereof, and technology often go hand in hand when it comes to school-aged kids, researchers said.

Nearly three out of four children (72 per cent) between the ages of 6 and 17 have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms while sleeping, they said.

Children who leave those electronic devices on at night sleep less - up to one hour less on average per night, according to a National Sleep Foundation survey.

"First - develop a nighttime routine. Whether it's a bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music, these actives will have a better impact on your child to help them relax before going to sleep," said Dr Jill Creighton, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Stony Brook Children's Hospital.

"The hour before bed should be a no-electronics zone," said Creighton.

Studies show that the light from backlit electronics (like tablets, smartphones and video games) can disrupt our ability to fall - and stay - asleep.

Creighton suggests designating a spot at home for electronics to be plugged in, then having kids start their bedtime routine by plugging in one hour before lights out.

"The burst of light from a phone (even if it's just to check the time) can break a sleep cycle. A regular alarm clock is best," said Creighton.

If your child has a slight addiction to technology and is resistant about turning off their device, try dialling down the screen time, researchers said.

"Reduce screen time by 30 minutes or more each week until you reach your goal.

"A good rule of thumb is try to limit recreational screen time to 60 minutes every day. And for every 30 minutes of screen time, make sure your kids get 30 minutes of physical activity," said Creighton. 

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