There is no denying that quality sleep is essential for every member of the family. However, several factors affect our sleeping schedule, proving detrimental to our health.
In fact, recent research on the relationships between sleep, screen time, exercise, and appearance is pretty shocking. While most of us know that too much screen time can sabotage our sleep, and on the other end of the scale, regular exercise will improve our slumber, what’s not clear is exactly how exercise, sleep and screen time can affect each member of the family’s sleeping habits.
With that in mind, here are eight facts about sleep, screen time, and exercise you need to know.
1. Screen-time disrupts your sleep…
Excessive screen-time might be one of the reasons why you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, especially if you are in the habit of staying on your mobile device right before bedtime. Research from the Salk Institute found out that exposing your eyes to the blue light on your phone or iPad affects your internal body clock. Our internal clocks can get confused, resulting in a host of health issues.
Looking into your device’s screen for as little as 10 minutes makes your body suppress the hormone that regulates sleep. So, if you want to avoid problems with falling asleep, never take any gadgets to bed with you. Set them aside before you start preparing for bed and leave them alone until morning.
2. …But screen-time isn’t entirely responsible for a lack of sleep in children
According to research from the University of Oxford, 50-90% of children today do not get enough sleep. While it is true that spending a lot of time staring at screens causes sleep disruption, this isn’t the main reason why children aren’t able to get the rest they need.
Kids Ride Wild tells us that the main reason for this is that kids are too busy. They are busy with school, which starts early, and with extracurricular activities and homework, which keep them from going to bed at a reasonable hour. Sadly, to make sure our kids get enough sleep and rest the whole education system will need to be changed.
3. However…screen-time can change brain structure in children
Before you conclude that screen time isn’t something to worry about, you should first consider the latest 60 Minutes study. Children’s brain scans show different readings depending upon the amount of screen time they get.
According to the study, children who spent over seven hours staring at the screen saw significant changes in brain structure. In particular, the scans show that their brains physically mature earlier than they should. The study is ongoing, so it’s yet unknown how exactly this change in development will affect these children later in life. However, the fact that it’s a big physical change from what is considered the norm is worrying. Therefore, parents should limit screen-time to 2-5 hours max, especially for kids under 12.
4. Insomnia is treatable with regular exercise
Insomnia is a disorder which causes difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Unfortunately, treating insomnia is extremely difficult due to its complexity, and due to the fact that there’s not one universal treatment.
However, one method said to help with insomnia is regular exercise. Even though exercising will not eliminate sleeplessness altogether, it can significantly improve the quality of sleep. Another reason for treating insomnia with regular exercise is that it doesn’t have any adverse effects (like sleeping pills). Here we’ve listed several exercise routines that could help you manage insomnia effectively.
5. A workout 90 minutes before bed improves sleep
We already know that exercising improves sleep quality. However, the timing must be right for it to be efficient if you are using workouts as a treatment for insomnia.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep suggests that:
- Exercise releases endorphins into your system, but you’ll need to wait for about 1-2 hours for the hormonal levels to settle for your body to relax into sleep.
- Working out causes your body to sweat, which requires a 30-90 minute cooling time before falling asleep.
Therefore, if you exercise 90 minutes before going to bed, you’ll get the most benefits from this workout.
6. Sleep deprivation will age you faster
The phrase ‘beauty sleep’ should be taken quite literally! In other words, having a healthy sleep schedule is essential if you want to look your best.
Why? Well, insufficient sleep causes your body to lose moisture, which in turn, reduces the pH level of your complexion. Also, if your body lacks proper moisture, your face suffers, resulting in breakouts and sometimes, redness of the skin. A study in The Royal Society Open Science shows that people who do not get sufficient sleep, age faster than their peers. So, if you want to maintain your youthful appearance, you should put effort into getting your forty winks.
7. Sleep Deprivation and Stress also Increase Heart Disease Risk by Three Times
According to the European Society of Cardiology, combining stress and insufficient sleep is more dangerous than most people think. In fact, those suffering from both have a three times higher risk of not only developing the cardiovascular disease but of dying from it.
That is why it’s imperative to manage and reduce your stress levels, so never skip vacations and get regular days off. And if you have insomnia, seek treatment right away. Don’t let it add to your already stressful life.
8. New moms and dads react differently to exercise and sleep
As exciting as it is to be one a new parent, it’s also quite easy to ignore your own well-being and focus on that of your child.
However, an interesting study from Penn University shows that both new mothers and fathers need to get enough sleep and exercise regularly to stay on top of their health. Researchers measured the average amount of sleep that new fathers get and came to an interesting conclusion. Those, who sleep more than the average than other fathers report feeling less connected to their child and partner. They also have a lower level of wellbeing.
When it comes to exercising, there is a funny fact that on days when fathers exercise more, there is a lower chance of arguments in the family, and vice versa.