Sleeping girl with a hand in her snacks.

The Media and Sleep

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Sleeping girl with a hand in her snacks.Research describing concern about media use and sleep in children dates at least to the 1970’s.

A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says:

“a 1981 study of middle-class children in Indiana found an association between TV viewing and both shorter daytime naps and shorter nighttime sleep among toddlers. Such results have been replicated subsequently and seem to have grown stronger with time.

 

Three recent studies of elementary-school children found that the amount of television viewed per day is significantly associated with lower total sleep time and with a general measure of sleep disturbance. An equally strong predictor in one study was bedtime viewing, but the strongest predictor was having a television in the child’s room. The fact that a TV in the bedroom was significantly associated with sleep problems raises the possibility that having a TV in the bedroom makes it possible for children to watch before bedtime without the parents’ knowledge.”

Sleep quality has also been related to media viewing.

Research has reported that among both infants and toddlers the amount of television viewing is associated with both irregular naptimes and irregular bedtimes. This finding is cause for concern given the increasing extent of infant and toddler viewing, and the importance of regular bedtimes and naptimes in order for children to develop healthy lifetime sleep habits.

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8 (NIV)

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.