Parents may have a new and compelling reasons to turn off smartphones, tablets and laptops in children’s bedrooms at night, as new research has found that light from electronic devices may lower sleep hormone levels.
Melatonin is the hormone which may be affected by the artificial light from screens. The hormone prompts sleep, and the effect of the bright light on it was most noticeable for children who just entered puberty. Night time levels of melatonin were supressed by up to 37 percent.
“The message is that we really have to be careful about protecting our especially young teens from light at night, which means parents need to get all screens out of the bedroom, because ultimately they can be quite damaging to a child’s capacity to get enough sleep,” said study co-author Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, in Providence, R.I.