Television Can Interfere with Young Children's Sleep

Published Online: Thursday, December 1, 2005

The percentage of infants and toddlers that have televisions in their bedrooms is growing—a practice that is taking a toll on children's sleep schedules. The study, reported in Pediatrics (October 2005), reviewed data from the National Survey of Early Childhood Health on 2068 children 4 to 35 months old to verify whether watching television, particularly close to bedtime, can interfere with sleep schedules.

The findings showed that children 12 to 23 months old watched 1.6 hours of television daily, while children 24 to 35 months old averaged >2 hours of television viewing each day. The researchers also determined that 34% of the participants had irregular nap times and 24% had random bedtimes. The investigators concluded that television's bright light may interfere with children's normal sleep/wake cycle, and it also may be stimulating instead of calming close to bedtime.

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