Q: Hello, I have recently let my three-year old son go to bed with his ipad, for about 30min, then I return and take it away, read a book and he seems to fall asleep easier. Before, he was crying, up and down stairs, excuses after excuses and finally fall asleep on his own around 10. Have started down the wrong path to sleep with the ipad?
GNSS A: Hello! Ideally we would want him going down without the need for the iPad. While it may seem okay to include it in his bedtime routine, electronics right before bedtime can put the body in a state of stress because of the high level of visual and cognitive stimulation. Even though he’s sleeping through the night it may not be the best restorative sleep possible.
We implement a bedtime routine in order to prepare the child for sleep and cue the brain to release melatonin, a natural sleep hormone. Melatonin is released by darkness, where the iPad’s screen has an unnatural brightness that may prevent that from happening. His eyes are seeing the brightness of the screen, which channel’s to the brain and shuts off the sleep switch. This also affects his natural circadian rhythms.
My advice would be to try to not include the iPad in his bedtime routine, instead opt for another story. If he really wants to use it, make sure it’s shut off at least an hour before bedtime and he has an adequate bedtime routine that follows its use.
I hope that helps!
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site.