Parents who are having trouble getting their kids to go to sleep may have a new remedy now. According to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, when children watch more TV, they tend to sleep less. The report also shows that having a TV in child’s bedroom can also disrupt a good night’s sleep. Even as adults, we know that staying glued to a screen late into the night can keep us wired and make falling asleep difficult, so it’s no surprise that TV can have the same effect on kids.Trouble with Late Night TV
This latest study adds to growing research that suggests that too much TV time can have a negative effect on the mental and physical health of children. Parents in the study were asked to report on the amount of television their children watched starting when they were six months old, and then every year after that, and whether or not the kids had a TV in their room.
The researchers found that for every extra hour of TV the kids watched, they generally slept an average of 7 minutes less each night. And kids that had TVs in their room, which most did by age 7, they tended to get roughly half an hour less sleep a night, particularly among minority children. Too much television before bed linked to poor sleep for kids. While the numbers may not sound hugely dramatic, the study also suggests that the quality of sleep is likely affected negatively, including delaying the onset of sleep cycles. Violent television may also cause sleep interruptions due to heightened stress and anxiety levels.
What To Do
Laying down ground rules with your kids for TV watching can be helpful. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting TV time to 1 to 2 hours a day. And just as limiting technology before bed can help adults unwind, setting a time for the TV (and other screens as well) must be turned off can be helpful.
While TV time may not explain all of why a child might be having trouble sleeping, reducing the amount they watch could have a beneficial impact on their physical and mental health.