Tuesday, June 28, 2011
TVs and TIRED KIDS (and Parents)
Televisions have become so commonplace that we often barely notice their presence. Many families leave the tv on for most of the day, more like background noise than anything else. A article recently published in PEDIATRICS addresses the use of television in preschool aged kids, 3-5 years old. The roughly 600 children in the study showed an increase in sleep problems associated with evening media use (television and computers), especially when that tv was located in the child's bedroom. Additionally, the study found that watching violent programs increased sleep problems, regardless of the time of day that the program was viewed.
Interestingly, the average reported screen daily screen time was a little over an hour, with roughly 14 minutes occurring in the evening. Remember that these were 3-5 year old preschoolers, and the information was obtained from parents filling out media diaries and sleep questionnaires. If this information was accurate, then please note that even kids watching LESS than the recommended maximum of two hours per day were still affected. Nearly one in five parents reported sleep disturbance in their child. (As an aside, please note, parents, that the medical community strongly recommends NO TELEVISIONS in kids' bedrooms!)
We are learning more and more about the impact of computer screens on our brains, and consistently finding that screen evening screen use impairs the quality of sleep. For children, adolescents and adults alike, we need to go back to "the good old days" of READING or relaxing in a warm bath before bed...but remember to read from a BOOK, not an electronic reader!
BOTTOM LINE: Media screen viewing, especially in the evenings before bed, impair your quality of sleep. If you have daytime fatigue, focus on LIMITING your screen time!