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April 13, 2022 2 min read

“You need 8 hours of sleep every day!”. We’ve all probably had our parents say this to us at some point. But why? Why is quality sleep so important especially for those in developmental periods (i.e. Teens, kids, and young adults)? Well in these developmental periods, their bodies need that extra sleep to make up for the cognitive, psychological, and physical growth they’re doing. Their brain is still developing, and this extra sleep actually also protects them from life-altering consequences such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that are a behavioral reaction to a physiological issue. Interestingly, teens actually are experiencing a shift in their circadian rhythms that makes it progressively harder for them to fall asleep before 11 pm, says John Hopkins Sleep Expert, Dr.  Laura Sterni. This becomes even harder with extra homework and early school mornings. But teens who don’t get enough sleep actually suffer from  reduced attention and memory span - which is not ideal during classes and/or exam periods. 


For infants and kids, having too little sleep not only prevents them from waking up fresh the next day but also affects their physical growth and immunity. Kids who get fewer than 9 hours of sleep a night also wake up more irritable the next day and have more heavy mood swings that can affect their ability to focus in class and interact with their peers. Having quality sleep is also important to get our  creative juices flowing and enable our comprehensive thinking for complicated tasks. 


In today’s day and age, everyone from infants to young adults don’t go a day without using devices such as phones, laptops, and more. For children as young as 2, iPads and iPhones are their version of toys. But unfortunately, these devices do more harm than good: they emit high levels of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs), a stressor that has been linked to reducing the quality of sleep we get - especially if we use the devices too close to bedtime. The difference between EMFs and other external stressors is the  consistency of exposure. Research however, fails to take into account the duration of such exposure for children & infants who have been using these devices for decades.Knowing that EMFs are a prolonged stressor that affects their ability to not only fall asleep, but also the quality of sleep they are able to get - sleep can become an ever greater challenge. 


Despite these obstacles,, getting quality sleep is vital and not impossible. The  National Sleep Foundation and American Academy of Sleep Medicine agree that 9-10 hours of sleep is ideal for those of us in our developmental stages. Some tips to help you get your quality sleep include going to bed and getting up at a similar time, having a bedtime routine, and avoiding using screens of any sort 1-2 hours before bed to minimize the effect of EMFs on your ability to get some shuteye. 

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