Electronics, Light and the Science of Sleep
There is robust scientific data documenting the role of light in promoting wakefulness. Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark, signaling our brain about the status of the outside world and aligning our circadian rhythms (centered in a small region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus) to the external day-night cycle. This signaling of light and dark helps us to be alert in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate time at night. The power of light as an alerting agent is easily conceptualized when we think of the sun, but may be more difficult to appreciate when considering the light emitted from a tablet or smartphone.
Nonetheless, careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness. As adults we are subject to these influences and our children are particularly susceptible.
Children, Electronics and Sleep
The increasing prevalence of electronics in children’s bedrooms creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness. Literature shows that:
- Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes, experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.
- Adolescents with a bedroom television have later bedtimes, more difficulty initiating sleep and shorter total sleep times.
- Texting and emailing after lights outs, even once per week, dramatically increases self-reported daytime sleepiness among teens.
- Not all electronic usage is recreational as the burden of homework is great for many of our children and their work is often completed on the computer, a significant light source late in the evening.
- Increased academic demands, busy social and extracurricular schedules and the lure of entertainment conspire to keep our children electronically engaged at night.
Many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control. Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom.
Enact the “Cell Phone Right-to-Know” Law in Your Community!
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the City of Berkeley, California’s “Cell Phone Right-to-Know” law. This law requires mobile phone retailers to warn consumers at the point of sale that carrying mobile phones in pockets and bras could present radiation health risks.
Today, send this sample municipal law to your town, city or county elected officials:
SAMPLE CELL PHONE RIGHT-TO-KNOW LAW
The (town, city or county) of ______________ requires that you be provided the following notice:
“To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio-frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal safety guidelines for exposure to RF radiation.
Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”
The state of Oregon has passed SB 283 “A bill relating to exposure to radiation in schools in this state; and declaring an emergency” Sen. Laurie Monnes-Anderson and advocate David Morrison have championed this issue for years.
This is the first bill in the United State with a focus on the health impact of wireless radiofrequency radiation in schools. During a March hearing, Morrison bought four boxes of documents with some of the thousands of independent studies concluding wireless radiation has biological effects.
Check out the rest of the story here:
First in the Nation: Oregon Passes State Bill on Wireless Radiation and Health in School
#Oregon #EMF #StopDirtyElectricity #Health #Childrenshealth
“…The digital environment is shaping the individual’s behavior, often through methods that are intentionally exploitative or subconscious.”
Kids need to understand these methods that are being used to fix their attention, Dr. Radesky said, and there is a tremendous teaching opportunity in helping them understand the way the technology works — and works on them.
Want to know more?
Check out the rest of the story here.
#StopDirtyElectricity #Digitaladdiction #Health #mentalhealth
We’re typically here to talk about the health ramifications of too much electronic exposure, but what about the effects on mental health?
Here’s some food for thought today. Check out the rest of the photo series here