New research has suggested that teenagers who watch too much television are putting themselves at risk for sleep problems later in life. The study included interviews with 759 mothers and their teen children when they reached an average age of 14, 16, and 22 years of age. As reported in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (June 2004), the researchers found that, among 14-year-olds who had little trouble getting a good night's sleep, those who watched at least 3 hours of television daily were >2 times as likely to have trouble falling asleep and frequent nighttime waking at age 16 or 22.
Furthermore, adolescents who reduced their television time from ≥1 hour per day at age 14 to <1 hour per day at age 16 were less likely to experience at least 2 sleep consequences later in life, compared with teens who did not change their television habits. As for a reason why television may disturb sleep, the researchers said that studies suggested that watching late-night television may put individuals in a state of "heightened alertness and physiological arousal," stopping them from easily falling asleep.