How screen time affects your sleep | What you need to know

How screen time affects your sleep

screen time and sleep

Having a good night’s rest is sure to guarantee an even better day, but rarely do we manage to enjoy one nowadays. That’s because of the one thing we can’t seem to go about our days (and nights) without – our phones. This article explores the relationship between screen time and sleep.

One notification before bed and suddenly you’re up all night

screen time and sleep

Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone, including our children. For all of us, we can’t shake off the feeling to check our phones every time a notification pops up or when we’re given some gaps of free time. In the day, we might use them for work purposes. After 6 however, our phones turn into sources of entertainment that keep us up all night and that’s where some of our sleep problems begin.

For our children especially, sleep is extremely important for their growth. So, when they spend hours on screens before bedtime, it can affect their quality of sleep and their overall health. In fact, a new study has shown that using phones before bedtime results in poorer quality of sleep in children between the ages of 6 to 19 [1].

Screen time and sleep

The first reason being that blue light that is emitted from the screens. Blue light is found in our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and almost every digital device you can think of. What’s bad about blue light is that it can interfere with our sleep patterns. Not setting the screens aside before bed can therefore compromise the quality of sleep our children enjoy.

screen time and sleep

Another reason is because of the overload of information which keeps your mind psychologically engaged. Social media provides us with hundreds upon thousands of information in mere minutes and when our children are exposed to them, it stimulates the brain which causes it to be more active and awake. It then delays NREM sleep (that deep quality sleep we all need) [2], and can leave them staring at the ceiling for hours before finally falling into slumber.

With this knowledge of course we’d want to keep the screens away from our kids before bedtime, but how? Where do we start?

Keeping the screens aside

If you want to keep the screens aside, start by scheduling some downtime. In order for our bodies to prepare for a good night’s rest, both the mind and body need to relax. Our children may insist on using his/her phones up until they have to brush their teeth, but that’s a little too late. Studies have shown that you should keep your phones aside minimally 30 minutes before going to sleep [3]. That means if your child’s bedtime is at 9pm, he/she should stop using his/her phone by 8.30pm at the latest.

However, there are nights when we parents just can’t keep our eye on the clock every minute because we’ve got so much to do. To help you make your load a little lighter, you can use parental control apps like the planoApp.

The planoApp runs in the background of your child’s phone and as a parent, you can use the app to set no-device times on your child’s phone. If your child has to be in bed by 9pm, you can set a no-device schedule between 8.30pm until the following day, and whenever else! Your child won’t be able to access his/her device during that duration time. It’s a great way to keep your child’s smartphone use in check too as the app provides you with reports about your child’s screen time and overall device usage.

Sleep is often taken for granted. During those hours of pure rest, our bodies are given the chance to recuperate and prepare itself for the following day. As our children grow up, it’s important that they don’t lose out on those precious Zs so that they can grow up healthily.

To further promote good eye health, going for regular and timely eye checks is a must. Visit planoEyecheck to book your next eye check appointment now!

[1] Carter, B., Rees, P., Hale, L., Bhattacharjee, D., & Paradkar, M. (2016). Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(12), 1202. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2341
[2] Basics on Sleep. (2020). Retrieved 24 July 2020, from
[3] How and Why Using Electronic Devices at Night Can Interfere With Sleep – Sleep Foundation. (2020). Retrieved 24 July 2020, from

Tools Designed for Healthier Eyes

Explore our specifically designed products and services backed by eye health professionals to help keep your children safe online and their eyes healthy.