Sleep problems can be more prevalent in children with needs. For example, a child with ADHD will find it hard to settle down and switch off at bedtime and therefore, may not be able to sleep. For children with special needs, sleep deprivation can have a massive effect. The world is a hard-enough place to deal with when you have needs, without being sleep deprived as well.
Some children may be prescribed the drug Melatonin by a health professional, to help with sleep problems. This is to help jump start the sleep cycle but, over time, it may hinder the production of your child’s melatonin and therefore prevent them from developing their own natural sleep pattern.
Sleep Training Concepts and Ideas
As many parents know, gadgets are a massive source of a child’s entertainment and social life. It is also clear that these gadgets aren’t going away any time soon! With a child who lacks the ability to speak to his peers, face to face, being able to interact with his friends via headphones and an Xbox is amazing, and naturally a lot of fun for the young person.
Of course, we’ve all been made aware of the impact these gadgets can have on sleep patterns if they are used right up to the time we go to bed but I never knew the impact blue light would have on my child’s sleep.
Most of us are exposed to blue light for several hours daily due to the light that is emitted from tablets, phones, computer screens, TV’s and indeed natural light from the sun. Over-exposure to this type of light in the evening has been proven to keep us awake making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. One of the reasons for this is that the blue light from electronic devices mimics daylight. In fact, this is very likely the cause of your child being awake at night!
This is why sleep experts are constantly telling us to turn off our electronic devices, and that we should be doing this hours before going to bed since it can take from an hour to one and half hours before your body is ready to doze off. But it makes you wonder what else we could be doing?
Personally, as a family, we always enforced time limits for our son when using his gadgets. We take his phone, iPad etc. out of his room, at night time, to ensure they were not being used close to bedtime. HOWEVER, we have now managed to sort out our son’s sleep problems by using the very thing which has, we believed, caused a lot of the sleep problem in the first place, by allowing him to use his iPad!
At first, we were very sceptical about this new approach. But honestly, we had already noticed that, when he snuck his iPad into his room at night, he was a lot calmer and not as disruptive. The downside was still that he didn’t get to sleep early or indeed sleep well. Being calmer was a big step in the right direction, however. the Sleep Centre, using this information, recommended that we install a blue light app on his iPad and let him have his iPad at night to watch YouTube (no games or Instagram). It was crucial that he used the blue light filter while watching YouTube during these late hours!
I never thought that iPads and kids would mix well at bedtime, but it turns out…
Who Wants To Know The Mystery Behind Blue Light Issues?
Short-wave blue light, more than any other colour of light, is a melatonin suppressor and is therefore a major cause of sleep disruption. It has been found that blue light and the suppression of our melatonin can cause long-term effects such as illness, compromised immune system, visual problems (only in severe cases) as well as the main issue of sleep disruption.