boy wired and tired
I'm tired but I can't sleep!

Electronics and Sleep Disturbance in Children: Wired and Tired

Harmful biological effects of video games and other electronics are numerous.

There is a growing body of evidence that all electronics can  induce the fight-or-flight state.  Studies show sustained increases in blood pressure and pulse, hours after playing a video game.

These changes can cause sleep issues.   Even if your child sleeps for 8-10 hours, it doesn’t mean their sleep quality is restorative.

Does your child wake up extremely irritable?  Fight going to sleep? Give you hell in the morning getting ready?

These are all signs that the brain’s sleep processes have been disrupted.  A unrested mind has great difficulty learning new information, and retaining the old.

Aside from the fight-or-flight state, there are two other ways video games and electronic devices (with screens) alter sleep.  Both reduce melatonin, the signal that tells your brain to sleep:

  1. The first is due to the unnatural brightness of the screen. Normally, melatonin is released by darkness.  When the eyes experience intense brightness, they channel that bright light directly to the brain, shutting down the sleep switch.  Sleep/wake cycles, or circadian rhythms, are also disrupted.  Studies show that normalizing circadian rhythms stabilize mood.
  2. The second has to do with electromagnetic radiation (EMR), a by-product of anything electronic.  Wireless emits additional EMR.

A recent study showed that employees being exposed to a wireless mast installed in their building developed with dramatic drops in their melatonin and serotonin (another brain chemical related to feeling calm with a sense of well-being), within a few weeks of the wireless mast arriving.

Furthermore, children’s brains are more sensitive to EMR than adults. This is due to their smaller heads, thinner skulls, and greater growth activity.

Take away point: If you’re child is having sleep problems, or seems tired and wired much of the time, simply unplug them, and watch what happens.

For free information on how to “unplug” your child’s brain, visit the video game page. Become informed on the negative effects video games have on your child’s sleep, brain chemistry, and stress response.

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