Are iPads Keeping Kids Up at Night? According to the latest research and an article that appeared in Education Week iPads are keeping kids up at night and also damaging sleep patterns. I’ve read that it is recommended to put your device away at least a half an hour before going to bed, for me that would also mean not bringing my laptop or iPad into the bed with me as that is how I have been operating for years. Kids have been sleeping with their phones since their arrival into society despite the research that has been done by a wide range of institutions saying, radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, causes headaches, confusion, depression and even ADHD behaviors. As it is the phone makers’ own scientists that have done much of this research we have no reason to not believe this. Other research done in conjunction with MIT and Professor Bengt Arnetz shows that mobile phones pump out electromagnetic radiation, which delays and disrupts sleep. Professor Arnetz, says: “We did find an effect from mobile phones from exposure scenarios that were realistic. This suggests that they have measurable effects on the brain.” He notes that the radiation may activate the brain’s stress system, “making people more alert and more focused, and decreasing their ability to wind down and fall asleep”. Other research also suggests that exposure to radiation is hindering our body’s ability to repair itself from any damage incurred throughout the day. All in all, from everything that I’ve read I’m considering going cold turkey and putting my devices away and going back to reading before going to sleep.
Isn’t that enough information to make you put your phone and iPad away or at least on the other side of the room? Or are we too programmed to be connected at all times that our sleep would suffer for fear that we might miss something, and of course there is the problem with the alarm clock! Really, who does still use an alarm clock? Smart phones have replaced so many everyday gadgets and streamlined the nightstand by also acting as reading lights, watches, calendars, flashlights, and even mini TV’s. Read on and learn more about the science of “Blue Light” and its effect on kids and how it impacts them as students as they lose more and more shut-eye.
‘Blue Light’ May Impair Students’ Sleep, Studies Say
Schools may soon face an unintended consequence of more flexible technology and more energy-efficient buildings: sleepier students.
That’s because evidence is mounting that use of artificial light from energy-efficient lamps and computer and mobile-electronics screens later and later in the day can lead to significant sleep problems for adults and, particularly, children.
While lights and electronic devices that mimic daylight can improve students’ attention and alertness if used during normal daytime hours, Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, has found exposure in the late afternoon and evening can disrupt sleep cycles as much as six to eight hours—the same amount of “jet lag” caused by a flight from New York City to Honolulu.
“Technology has disconnected us from the natural 24-hour day,” Dr. Czeisler said in a keynote lecture at the Society for Neuroscience meeting held here last month.
That could lead to headaches for school districts across the country that are rolling out take-home electronic devices in an effort to boost student achievement.
Two connected systems determine how people of all ages sleep. The first is pretty straightforward: The longer it’s been since you’ve slept, the sleepier you get. The second system, called the circadian cycle, is more complex and can easily come into conflict with a person’s basic sleep drive.
Human brains regulate circadian sleep through exposure to short-wavelength “blue” light, which makes up the bulk of bright daylight. Short-wavelength light increases cortisol in the brain, which regulates alertness. As blue light during the day fades to the longer-wavelength, redder light of dusk, the brain’s timekeeper, the hypothalamus, suppresses cortisol and releases the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin.
One study released this month in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience showed that even those who are functionally blind become more alert and have increased brain activity in response to blue light, suggesting it can have effects even when it can’t be seen.
In several studies, Dr. Czeisler has found that light-emitting diodes, or LEDS, which contain a large proportion of blue light, are more “biologically potent”—twice as effective at resetting the brain’s circadian clock as incandescent light. College students exposed to even brief periods of blue light late in the day showed delayed release in melatonin and up to a two-hour delay in sleep time.
Blue light is becoming ubiquitous in any device that uses LEDS—including tablet and laptop computers, energy-efficient lamps, and some televisions. The Arlington, Va.-based National Sleep Foundation found this year that more than half of Americans use a computer, laptop, or tablet device in the hour before sleep every night or nearly every night. More than seven in 10 also have televisions in their bedrooms.
In real life, that can create an unhealthy cycle: Students exposed to blue light late in the day feel less sleepy and continue to do homework or play online until very late, exposing themselves to more light and making it harder to feel sleepy, even as their need for sleep grows. In the past 50 years, Americans’ average sleep time has dropped from 8.5 hours a day to only 6.9 hours, Harvard’s Dr. Czeisler said. An analysis of nearly 700,000 school-age children in 20 countries found that they slept on average 75 minutes less a night in 2008 than in 1905, with American children’s sleep shrinking more rapidly than for those in most other countries.
As anyone who has had to wake a teenager for a 7 a.m. bus or deal with a toddler who missed his nap knows from experience, research finds children and adolescents are particularly affected by disruptions to their sleep cycles.
For example, a 2012 study by the University of California, Los Angeles, suggested the costs of losing sleep outweighed the academic benefits of more study time for high school students staying up late before a test. Even small sleep deficits have been found to not only hinder students’ learning and memory, but also to increase their risks of depression, obesity, and getting into car accidents.
“I think there’s huge misunderstanding about the use of these devices” and their effects on sleep, said Amy R. Wolfson, a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. She found high school students who got poor grades slept on average 25 minutes less and went to bed 40 minutes later than those who got A’s and B’s.
Ms. Wolfson, who is now studying the sleep effects of blue-light-emitting electronics in the bedrooms of college students, said sleep researchers have been trying, mostly in vain, to get educators to take sleep into consideration in their technology plans.
Read the rest of this article here at Education Weekly