Get Better Sleep: Set a Bedtime for Electronics

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An electronic bed time helped our family get better sleep. What does that mean? Our family puts electronics away at least 1 and a half hours prior to bedtime.

I know what you’re thinking: You’re thinking about how calm your child is when he or she is using that iPad. That your kids will protest and insist that one can actually die from boredom.

Cell phone in sleep mode
Photo by Noah Erickson on

Mine seems calm too. In fact, I watched her interact with the technology in a way that we felt was helpful for her development. What I didn’t realize was that the brain stimulation and blue light exposure was contributing to her (and subsequently our) inability to sleep.

According to a 2014 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of people report using some sort of electronic device within an hour of bedtime, and nearly three-quarters of parents report that their children sleep with at least one electronic device.

If you’ve read our story, you know that sleep troubles impacted our family for years. My daughter just would not, could not sleep. Sure, we heard lots of advice, and our pediatrician was quick to share a chart with how much sleep we should get, but never was too helpful with the practical how-to’s. I was a Mombie: exhausted, irritable, existing on coffee just trying to get through the day.

I found out I was not alone. Nearly 90% of parents who have a child with special needs report sleep difficulties; both getting to and staying asleep.

I talk to other parents about ways to achieve better sleep as a guest on LakiKid’s Podcast, Ask an Autism Mom, check it out!

Desperate to find sleep for our whole family, we tried a multi-pronged approach to achieve better sleep. (If you want to know how, click here!) We saw a significant improvement when we mindfully put our electronics to bed.

How did we set a household bedtime for electronics? I won’t say it was easy at first, but here are the steps we followed.

Hold a family meeting

A “Because I said so,” strategy may not be the best approach. Help kids understand why you’re concerned, and why sleep is so important. Here are two kid-friendly books to help: Devin & Evan play Fortinite ’til 11 and Devin & Evan sleep from 8 – 7.

Start Small

Don’t try to put electronics away 2 hours before bedtime right away. A small first step might be taking electronics out of bedrooms during the night. After that, start with 30 minutes and work your way up to 2 hours.

Include the kids

Ask them to help find a good ‘bedroom’ for the electronics where they can charge and be ready for the next day. If you’re looking for a DIY family project, here’s a functional charging station made from a shoebox!

What to do?

Sit down with the family and make a list of different things you like to do that don’t involve electronics. Here are 20 ideas that our family enjoys after our electronics go to bed.

In conclusion, creating a bedtime for household electronics will help improve sleep, while making time for fun family activities.

More TIL Sleep Resources

How to use a sleep log
Learn how much sleep our kids need
Foods that support sleep
Blue light and sleep
Roadmap to better Sleep – Free one-page Download

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