• Vesna Pejic Vulic

Screens & Sleep



Why are you not able to sleep immediately and well after the use of screens, particularly a computer? What happens to your child after hours of playing a computer game?

How many times you go to bed after shutting down the computer or checking your messages on the phone? Children often play games before sleep to “calm down”… that is what some of the parents think, however, this is a big misconception.

The circadian rhythm rules the interplay between the cortisol and melatonin. We need melatonin to fall asleep while cortisol stimulates our attention and keeps us awake. Now, try to imagine how much cortisol is produced when we play a computer game to “calm down” before bed-time! The effect is that we will be wide awake and excited - and when we finally do fall asleep, it will not be a deep sleep, and thus we will not rest well.​

Consequently, the next day an adult person will have a problem focusing at work, will get easily agitated or frustrated. In case of a child the situation might get even more complicated as few other children would be at a similar state: frustrated, angry, unfocused, forgetful…. In order to make oneself feel good, both, the adult and the child will go on the computer to forget about the awful day and to ‘relax” a bit, and then, here we go again. The vicious cycle starts again.

We have seen many children or adults having issues with spending too much time in front of screens. Once this habit (or in less serious cases this tendency) is changed it is much easier to work on the visual issues of that child or adult. However, in cases when the habit is deeply rooted nothing much can be done to help such an individual. Cases of adults losing their job or children being taken from their schools are not that rare anymore.

We all should pause before switching on the computer before going to bed or looking at the phone, attending the message that just arrived via WhatsApp or Facebook, as the chain of communication could take us much further than imagined. Pause and rethink: do you really want to jeopardize the next day, the next month or year(s) of your life?

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

#computervisionsyndrome #sleep #computer #circadianrhythm #IPads #Tablets #screens #melatonin #cortisol

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