How light can affect your child’s circadian rhythm

If you’re a parent you’re probably aware of this problem but know you’re not alone. Many parents are in the exact same situation. Most toddlers are put into bed with some kind of night light turned on, watching cartoons at the iPad or Smartphone before they have to sleep. Is that really a good idea?

This blog post is about which consequences it can have and what you can do yourself.

Why should your child avoid any contact with blue light before bedtime?

Several studies show that the majority of children exposed to light in some form, for more than 90 minutes before bedtime, result in poor quality of sleep. During daytime, blue light has proven to be super efficient and can actually boost alertness, heighten reaction times and improve mood. Blue light up to 500 nanometers in the light spectrum has the opposite effect in the evening. It mainly caused that the short wavelength of light affects children’s level of melatonin in the brain, also called the “sleeping hormone” which helps regulate their sleep and circadian rhythm. When the eyes are exposed to blue light, less melatonin is created and it will undoubtedly reduce the sleep quality which is an important part of children’s development.

It’s a frightening trend but as a professor at the University of Connecticut highlights, it’s a downside living in a rapidly fast-growing digitized world. He calls it “light pollution” and in worst cases it can cause health problems and serious illnesses.

What can you do?

  • Avoid screen time 2 hours before bedtime
    Artificial blue light which is submitted by electric devices like iPad and Smartphone is the worst sinner. The melatonin hormone will not be interfered if your child isn’t exposed to this lighting at least two hours before their bedtime.

  • Dimmed LED lighting
    The best solution obviously is not to expose the child to any blue light before bedtime. Another option is to use LED lighting with a dimmed effect. Although LED light produces some light in the blue spectrum, it will still be a better solution than using an ordinary light. For example, LED with a warmer color temperature will produce fewer wavelengths in the blue area and therefore be gentler. You should pay particular attention buying bulbs from approx. 2,400 to 3,000 Kelvin.

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