It doesn't take a genius to know that too much TV can affect kids' sleeping habits. However, a new study has found that school-aged children experience shorter sleep duration after watching just 1.5 hours of television per day. In other words, all it takes is three episodes of a typical kids' TV show for sleep deprivation to kick in.
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Researchers at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona measured sleep duration in 1713 children aged between two and nine. Parents reported the number of hours their child watched television per day. The study found that children who watched 1.5 hours of television or more per day had shorter sleep duration:
Longitudinally, children with reported increases in television viewing duration over time (from <1.5 to ≥1.5 hours per day) had a reduction in sleep duration at follow-up visits. Results were similar when examining television viewing duration as a continuous variable, with each 1 hour per day of increased viewing decreasing sleep duration at follow-up visits (β = −0.11; 95% CI, –0.18 to −0.05).
The sleep disparity remained significant even after adjusting for possible contributing factors such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders and child physical activity levels.
"Parents should consider avoiding long periods of daily television exposure among preschool and school-aged children," the paper concludes. Does this mean we actually have to pay for a babysitter? Like that's going to happen.
How much TV do you allow your kids to watch per day (including games and DVDs)? How much is too much? Share your opinion in the comments section below.
Hours of Television Viewing and Sleep Duration in Children [JAMA Pediatrics]