Doctor: Smartphones can impact your child's sleep - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Doctor: Smartphones can impact your child's sleep

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(WFSB file) (WFSB file)

Smartphones may have made it easier to stay connected, but doctors say they may be affecting your child's sleep.

They said technology like laptops, tablets and televisions emit blue light, which is a type of light the brain interprets as daylight.

Doctors said leaving a mobile device on a nearby nightstand is a habit people should break.

"If you're trying to go to sleep at night and you're on the phone, any bright light at that time is going to prevent you from getting to sleep," said Dr. Edward Salerno, attending physician, Hartford Hospital.

Salerno told Eyewitness News that staring directly at a bright screen makes it difficult to crash right when you crawl into bed.

"It's going to clue the brain to send signals that we're ready to wake up or we're not ready to start the sleep process," he said.

The light emitted by the devices essentially confuses the brain into thinking that the sun is out.

According to, a site powered by the National Sleep Foundation, 71 percent of people sleep either holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them or having it on their nightstand.

Salerno said by limiting that light late at night, children will be able to fall asleep much earlier.

He said it's something with which both children and adults struggle.

"What kids need is bright light in the morning to wake them up, and try to advance their sleep phase, so they can go to bed earlier and go to sleep earlier," Salerno said.

To get a better night's sleep, recommends that parents limit their kids' technology use in the bedroom and, if possible, making the bedroom a tech-free zone.

Salerno said what can be even more distracting is simply knowing that users have notifications waiting for them. He said the temptation to check social media sites and work emails can be too strong to resist.

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