Last night, I was reminded of the alternative as my husband fired up a game of Super Mario Brothers and our five year old ended up bouncing off the walls for most of the evening. I don't know what it is...but it seems to be pretty amazing when it's actually put into place. Hopefully - you can thank me later.
I have to take thirty continuing education hours every three years to keep my license as a therapist. I went to a conference today to gain six of the hours.
The conference was a good one - but something in particular stood out. The speaker began to talk about how important it was to get enough quality sleep every night. She said that what we do BEFORE bedtime, can actually affect this.
Evidently, there is something called "blue light". This light stimulates our brain and suppresses the secretion of melatonin - or the "sleepy hormone".
Where do we find this "blue light"? From our televisions, computers, video games, energy efficient light bulbs, electronic gadgets, etc. The presenter said that when our eyes and brain are exposed to it, it takes approximately 90 minutes for our minds to slow back down again and prepare for sleep. An HOUR AND A HALF!!!
What do my kids do right before bed? They watch one last show, play one last video game, spend ten more minutes on the computer and so on and so forth. Adam and I wonder why EVERY single night, all four of them jump from bed to bed and flip through the air. They're wide awake and it makes us crazy.
We decided to see what would happen if we changed things around. We told them that they had until 7:00 to do whatever they wanted, then absolutely everything had to be shut off. When 7:00 came, we gave them baths and put them in their pajamas. The hardest part of all, was that WE had to shut our TV shows and computer off too. It's not about the content or the stimulation, ie. if our show is on, they won't be interested, so it won't matter. Instead, it's literally the light that's emitted from the TV, computer, etc. that acts as the stimulant...which translates to...everything off.
It really made a difference. The house was quiet and calm, while the extra "noise" wasn't there.
The kids got into their beds and read books. We said our prayers with them, sang a couple of songs and left their rooms. We waited...aaaand nothing. No jumping, giggling, hitting, kicking, snorting...nothing. All four were sound asleep.
I don't really know what to think about it, but I can't believe it could be that simple. I'm anxious to try it over the next few nights to see if it was just a fluke.
I know it will be hard to turn everything off. Come to think of it though, I'll be happy to do it if it means having nights of peace and quiet without our crazy monkey children screaming from room to room. I would hope that they/we would feel so much better and well rested the next day too.
I can't imagine that it will really work, but I know at least for one night, the house was as quiet as a mouse. If you decide to try it too, we would love to hear if this "Blue Light Special" works for you