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Daylight saving can be timebomb for kids

Updated: Feb 17

DrLullaby's founder, Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM contributes to this Chicago Tribune article, explaining how light stops melatonin secretion, when to stop using artificial light for better sleep, and how to start using natural light to wake up.


Dr. Lisa Medalie, an insomnia specialist at University of Chicago Medicine, works with kids as young as 4 months all the way up to teenagers who suffer from insomnia. The time change for daylight saving can have a particularly acute effect on these kids.


"If a child is a troubled sleeper as it is, when we do spring forward, they're a little more vulnerable of having a bout of insomnia," Medalie said.

"They shouldn't have any screen time at least one hour before bedtime," Medalie said. "The light emitted from TV and other electronic devices actually stops the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Also, parents should minimize kids' caffeine intake."


In the mornings, sunlight functions as a natural alarm clock for kids and can make it easier to rouse a kid awake, Medalie said.


"Light will help the brain to stop secreting melatonin and help them be more alert," Medalie said. "You can do that by opening up the shades or, if there's time, you can go on a short walk outside."

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