Friday, March 27, 2015

Is It Just Me?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me or is the whole world crazy?  Somewhere I’ve come up with the strange idea that bedtime for children was about going to bed and going to sleep.  Sure there will be fussing, but that’s what parents are for – to make sure they get to bed on time and get up on time so they develop the right habits and don’t end up part of the “teen sleep deprivation epidemic” or run into serious problems later in life.  According to the CDC, “Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to public health, with sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors.”  (See the chart for possible problems that may result from insufficient sleep.)

As these teen and adult situations have gained attention – bringing us yet another set of societal crises – any number of sources have come forward to emphasize the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.  Tips on how to do it include sticking to a regular sleep schedule, getting enough exercise during the day, having a comfortable mattress, having a relaxing routine before bed time and powering down – that is, turning off the television and other devices.  To reinforce this last point the National Sleep Foundation reminds us:  “careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness.  As adults we are subject to these influences and our children are particularly susceptible.”  They go on to say, “Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes, experience fewer hours of sleep per week and report more daytime sleepiness.”

How does the business community respond to this situation?  Struggling with the kids at bedtime?  - There’s an app for that!  USA Today put it this way:  “Kids who put up a fight to go to bed might change their tune thanks to Wildlandia, an innovative line of bedding that doesn't only feature cartoon jungle wildlife on its sheets and bed cover – animals come to life when seen through the lens of a mobile device.”  So the kids go to bed and the sheets come alive with wild animals that need attention.  To play the full game parents must download the app plus buy either a $70 comforter set or a $40 throw blanket.  Also available are the optional animal pillows with a giraffe or elephant, for $25 each.  That’s cheap compared to the cost of a baby sitter; and if it keeps the kids out of sight and out of mind at bedtime, where’s the harm?

There seems to be a disconnect.  If I am out of touch expecting parents to take these facts into consideration and assume their responsibility as parents, then this company will be wildly successful in selling American parents another easy answer.  Let's hope the opposite is true, where parents will do the right thing for their children’s long term wellbeing leaving wild animal bedding to gather dust on the store shelves.

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