Tough Bed Time? Kill the Lights!

Did you know that children’s eyes let in more light than adults’ eyes do?

In the highly plugged-in and screen-centric world that we’re living in, it’s become something of a crisis in the eyes of those who study sleep. The experts are trying their best to recommend a way to address the impact all these smart phones and streaming services have had on our brains. Articles claiming that scrolling through social media before bed will years off your life are cropping up everywhere.

This may or may not be concerning for adults who are reading this now, but it should be a big concern for anyone who has a child. As we said, kids’ eyes are more sensitive to light than the eyes of parents. You do your best to create an environment that is fun and comfortable for your child, with fun children’s furniture, and decorations that inspire their imaginations. We obviously love that kind of thing here at Çilek, but if your goal is the sleepiest kid possible on or around bed time, there may be more that needs to be done, and light is one factor that shouldn’t be ignored.

As you might guess, screens are the big culprit here. With parents, it can be a big temptation to let kids unwind with an iPad at the end of the day, and to therefore let parents unwind too. Unfortunately, for kids who have trouble with wanting to go to sleep at bedtime, it’s this screen time that may be contributing to the problem. Now, a growing body of research pretty clearly backs this up. Kids who were exposed to bright lights were measurably less sleepy when bedtime came around.

For kids who have homework, try to encourage them to take care of it well before bedtime, and create an expectation of quiet, less lit activity before bed time. Brushing teeth in the brightly lit bathroom can also add to the feeling of being awake. Try to brush teeth right after meals, so there is still ample time before bedtime to unwind from the light of day.

Make it fun

With kids, anything can become a game. Making a quiet, darker cave-like atmosphere can inspire kids (and distract them from the painful fact that bedtime is right around the corner) with fun children’s furniture, it can be arranged to further promote the fun, and the dark.

Naturally, every kid is different, and any no-light strategy will need to be tempered with the individual needs of the child. Also, don’t get your hopes too high—because the one thing that practically every kid can agree on is that bedtime is horrible, and unfair, and wrong. Still, with lights at a minimum, you may be surprised by an increased quality in your child’s sleep, which results in a happier, healthier kid.