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Detrimental effects of television viewing on sleep in young children

Date:
April 14, 2014
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
A study following more than 1,800 children from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years found a small but consistent association between increased television viewing and shorter sleep duration. The presence of a television in the room where a child sleeps also was associated with less sleep, particularly in minority children.
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A study following more than 1,800 children from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years found a small but consistent association between increased television viewing and shorter sleep duration. The presence of a television in the room where a child sleeps also was associated with less sleep, particularly in minority children. Investigators from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) report their results -- the first to examine the connection between television and sleep duration over several years -- in the May issue of Pediatrics.

The study participants, children and their mothers, were enrolled in Project Viva, a long-term investigation of the health effects of several factors during pregnancy and after birth. This study analyzed information -- reported by mothers when the children were around 6 months old and then annually for the next seven years -- regarding how much time each day infants were in a room where a television was on, how much time older children watched television daily, whether children ages 4 to 7 slept in a room where a TV was present and their child's average daily amount of sleep.

The study revealed that, over the course of the study, each additional hour of television viewing was associated with 7 fewer minutes of sleep daily, 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 around a half-hour per day.

The study authors note their results support previous short-term studies finding that both television viewing and sleeping in a room with a television decrease total sleep time, which can have negative effects on both mental and physical health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth M. Cespedes, Matthew W. Gillman, Ken Kleinman, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Susan Redline, and Elsie M. Taveras. Television Viewing, Bedroom Television, and Sleep Duration From Infancy to Mid-Childhood. Pediatrics, April 14, 2014 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-3998

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Massachusetts General Hospital. "Detrimental effects of television viewing on sleep in young children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414092117.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2014, April 14). Detrimental effects of television viewing on sleep in young children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414092117.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Detrimental effects of television viewing on sleep in young children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414092117.htm (accessed May 25, 2015).

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