Dr. Guy Meadows studies (and teaches) sleep at the Sleep School in London. Meadows’ arch enemy is insomnia and its evil daytime manifestation, sleep deprivation. Meadows practices a drug-free method of combating both with the goal of allowing his patients to “achieve a good quality sleep every night.” But there’s something relatively new and menacing in Dr. Meadows’ world, and it’s affecting children.
Like many lifelong habits, good sleeping habits can be formed in childhood. Now the ubiquity of digital devices like tablets and phones has become a massive disruption to the process of learning how to sleep. Kids are using devices daily at ever earlier ages, and their sleep is adversely affected. “These devices emit light which mimics the light from the sun and they essentially trick our brains into thinking we should be active, not winding down for sleep, and that interferes with our circadian rhythms,” Meadows recently told The Guardian. Surveys have found that large percentages of Western children use a tablet or phone within 30 minutes of bedtime.