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Late Night Text Talk Causing Kids' Sleep Problems

Late Night Text Talk Causing Kids' Sleep Problems

Cell phones and computers . . . we love ‘em (most of the time). We can keep in touch with our spouses and kids, no matter what. If we're not 100% sure what clouds are made of, we can find out instantly (tiny ice crystals and air). What would we do without them? Simple: We'd sleep better! And so would our kids.

Turns out that 8- to 22-year-olds who send texts and emails, surf the Web, or play computer games around bedtime have sleep troubles ranging from restlessness and insomnia to leg pain, reports a new study. The daytime effects: anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties. Not what anybody (your child or you) needs.

Healthy sleep at night does for kids what it does for you: boosts alertness, productivity, creativity, and general well-being. Improves sex quality, too (that one's just for you). So make it happen.

  • Put kids' cell phones to bed -- say, in your closet. Remember sneaking a flashlight under the covers after lights-out? Some things don't change. Half of the parents in the study said they didn't know their kids were surfing and texting hours after bedtime. Clear TVs and computers out of bedrooms, too (including yours).
  • Limit total screen time to 2 hours a day. The typical kid watches 3 hours of TV alone. That's time not spent playing outside or reading, activities that are more likely to induce sweet dreams.
  • Keep it down. Kids can't sleep if your TV is blaring and your cell phone is beeping. Besides, all that screen time isn't good for your ZZZs either.

Unplug. Sleep tight.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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