Parents across the UK are damaging their children’s sleep patterns by relying on technology to get them off to sleep, a new report has found.
More than half (52 per cent) of parents surveyed use electronic devices to help occupy their child.
The average parent gets 2 hours extra sleep per night whilst their child is occupied with electronic devices, according to the OnePoll survey for blinds-hut.co.uk.
However, the light from screens suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
This desperation - albeit counter-productive - for some more ‘me’ time is understandable, as almost a quarter (23 per cent) of parents will have to go in more than three times before their child settles.
It’s the mum who is the most likely to get up in the night to look after the children with as many as 77 per cent of nighttime ‘calls’ being answered by the female partner.
Vicki Dawson, Founder of The Children’s Sleep Charity, said:“All children are individuals and therefore there is no one piece of advice that will resolve all families sleep issues.
“The key is to unpick why the child is having sleep issues and to use strategies consistently that are in line with your parenting style.
“It is important to speak with a health professional to rule out any medical issues. A consistent bedtime routine starting an hour before sleep time can help tremendously.
“Avoid the use of technology in the hour before bed too as it suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin making it more difficult to fall asleep.”
So what can be done instead?
The tried and tested techniques that UK parents think are the most effective are:
1. Bedtime stories
2. Strict routine
3. Blackout blinds
4. Technology blackout
5. Night light
6. Letting child sleep in your bed
7. Controlled crying
9. Taking child for a drive
10. Taking child for a walk