Alaska Sleep Education Center

Keep Video Games from Deteriorating Your Child's Sleep

Posted by Egbert Feron on Mar 3, 2021 4:38:00 AM

Father and son playing video games on the couch

Let’s face it, most of us love video or online games. It’s fun to spend time in a different world of online or video games. But what’s not fun is when kids play video games and don’t get enough sleep. 

It might be normal for adults to lack sleep - even though it’s not normal. But we are used to it. Children, on the other hand, need enough sleep since they are still growing. You might be surprised, but kids grow during sleep. If they don’t have enough sleep, it will badly affect their health. 

Of course, forbidding your child to play video games is not a solution. You know what will happen, right? The kid will just find another way to keep playing, and you won’t even be aware of that. So what should you do? 

In this article, you will learn about different ways in which too much time spent on video games affects the child’s health. You will also learn about the tips that will help you to develop a trustful relationship with your kid. That might help you to talk sense into your kid and they will understand why it’s not a good idea to spend all their time in video games.

Negative Effects of Lack of Sleep on Teens 

If you have a kid, then lack of sleep caused by any factors has negative effects on the child. There 6 main negative effects caused by lack of sleep:

  • Cognitive performance. If your child is in school, you will see marks getting worse and worse every time. Pay attention to how many tech devices are there in your child’s bedroom. If 4 or more, then it might affect your child’s cognitive performance at school. The teen can fall asleep in class or while doing homework, it will also be more difficult to concentrate on tasks.
  • Trigger mood changes. Those kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be aggressive or impulsive. Pls, children might be attentive and hyperactive.
  • Increase risk of obesity. What’s even worse is that lack of sleep can affect the health so the child may develop diabetes later on in the future. 
  • Risk of being injured. The studies have shown that those children who are participating in sports have a higher risk of getting injured if they lack sleep. If a teen doesn't get 8 hours of healthy sleep a day, there is a higher risk he’ll get injured.
  • Mental health illnesses. Those children who sleep 6 and fewer hours each night have higher risks of developing depression.
  • Risk of developing an addiction. If teens don’t get enough sleep, there is a risk they might turn to substances. It’s especially dangerous if the kid is prescribed medicine to fix sleep problems.

As you can see, lack of sleep is a serious problem. Whether your child isn’t even of age to attend a school or is already attending college, they must get enough sleep. Video games might not be dangerous when playing smart. If your child tends to spend all their time playing games, it’s not a good sign.

Why Do Video Games Deteriorate Children's Quality of Sleep?

You may ask how exactly video games affect your kid’s ability to get healthy sleep. The answer is simple - screens of devices affect the biological rhythms of your child. There is a hormone produced by our bodies, it’s called melatonin. When the daylight is fading, the human body decreases the level of melatonin, and this process is signaling the brain that it’s time to sleep.

If a human's body is exposed to bright light, then it keeps producing rather than decreasing the level of melatonin. As a result, the brain doesn’t understand that it’s time to sleep. The screen of a phone, PC, or tablet is producing extremely bright and artificial light. If the child keeps playing video games before sleep, it will inevitably ruin the kid’s ability to get enough sleep.

Moreover, there is another problem - the kid can get too excited. Games create certain emotions, which could be pleasant or negative. When trying to fall asleep, the child could be too agitated. Instead of being calm and falling asleep, the kid is still too excited. It can also lead to seeing dreams about the game and eventually, waking up at night.

5 Tips to Change the Situation

As it was mentioned, completely forbidding playing games is not an option. If you do so, the child will see you as a bad guy. It would cause more aggression, or the child will find other ways to play games. Instead, use these tips to improve the situation:

  1. Talk with your child about the importance of having enough sleep. The very first step is to have a trustful conversation. Explain that lack of sleep will damage the health and might affect the well-being of your kid.
  2. Bright light in the morning, dimmer lights during evenings. It’s easier to wake up when your body is exposed to daylight. When having breakfast in the morning, try to sit near the window. When it’s evening, make sure to set up dimmer lights so the body will recognize it’s soon time to sleep.
  3. No video games before sleep. Set a rule when your child can spend time while playing video games. It shouldn’t be 2-3 hours before sleep. If your kid plays right before sleep, he might get too excited to fall asleep. Moreover, it could affect the quality of sleep. Or exposure to bright light from the screen will make it even harder for the kid to fall asleep.
  4. Let the child see the results. Ask your kid how he or she feels after having enough sleep? How was their day, was it easier to complete school tasks? Is it easier to do the homework? You should plant the thought in your kid’s mind that when having enough sleep, they feel a lot better. 
  5. No bright lights in the kid's bedroom. As it was mentioned, the bright light causes our body to produce melatonin. The level of this hormone should keep decreasing before sleep, so the brain recognizes when it’s time to sleep.

Sleep is extremely important, especially when the child is still growing. As adults, we understand the value of having enough sleep. We know that we perform better, that we feel better when we get enough healthy sleep. 

But children might not understand this. Try to reason them, so they understand how important it is for them to get healthy sleep. In this case, you won’t even have to persuade your child to stop playing video games - your kid will understand that playing games all day long is not an option.

Final Thoughts

Sleep is vital in maintaining your body and mind healthy and well-equipped. Sleep plays an essential role in our lives keeping us fit, preventing depression, lowering the risk of heart disease, and etc. With the rapid development of modern technologies, more and more people admit that their relationships with sleep deteriorated. The results of researches conducted by scientists show us contradicting results. Some feel deeply concerned about the reduced duration of the REM phase of sleep while others state that this difference is vague. Anyway, playing video games before sleep does affect sleep. You can get more bedtime if put in some effort and treat this issue more seriously.

Sleep needs to become a priority.

Teens who are able to establish good sleep habits are significantly less likely to suffer from depression or to have suicidal thoughts.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the leader in Alaska for Pediatric Sleep Studies. We know how important your child is to you and are here to help! Call Alaska Sleep Clinic @ 907-770-9104.

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Author’s Bio: Egbert Feron is a freelance content writer and blogger, currently working at www.csgo-bets.org. He learns his entire life with curiosity and shares his knowledge with others in a simple and understandable way. Topics Egbert covers include technology, marketing, business, and lifestyle.

 

Topics: kids, video games

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