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Friday, May 16, 2014

TV Time Linked to Sleep in Children

From Smart Kids with LD

May 12, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children and teens get 10 hours of sleep per night. If your child is not getting at least that much sleep, consider less TV time.

According to an article in the Harvard Gazette, a study of “more than 1,800 children from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years old found a small but consistent association between increased television viewing and shorter sleep duration.”

The research was a long-term study that analyzed annual parent-reported data from the time the children were 6 months old through age 7. The factors looked at were the daily amount of time children watched TV, whether they slept in a room with a TV, and the average amount of sleep they got.

Consistent with other short-term studies, this research team from Mass. General Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health found that more TV was associated with less sleep:
  • Each additional hour of television viewing was associated with seven fewer minutes of sleep a night, with the effects appearing to be stronger in boys than in girls.
Racial and ethnic minority children were much more likely to sleep in a room where a television was present, and among those children, the presence of a bedroom television reduced average sleep by around 30 minutes a night.

Good Sleep Habits

In addition to monitoring TV time, the National Institutes of Health provides these strategies to ensure that your child gets enough sleep:
  • Have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don’t use the child’s bedroom for timeouts or punishment.
  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends. Limit the difference to no more than about an hour.
  • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen.
  • Avoid heavy and/or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. (Having a light snack is okay.)
  • Spend time outside every day (when possible) and be physically active.
  • Keep the bedroom quiet, cool, and dark (a dim night light is fine, if needed).

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