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More TV before Bedtime Linked to later Sleep Onset in Children

1/14/2013 For Release:  January 14, 2013

A study in the February 2013 Pediatrics adds to the evidence that the more television children watch in the evening, the less they sleep. The study, “Presleep Activities and Time of Sleep Onset in Children,” published online Jan. 14, tracked children’s activities in the 90 minutes before bedtime and investigated how those activities were related to the time they fall asleep. A survey of more than 2,000 children and adolescents ages 5 to 24 in New Zealand collected data about how children spent their time in the evening, including eating, getting ready for bed, reading or doing homework, watching television, playing video games, listening to music, and other activities. For all children in the sample, television watching dominated the presleep period, with screen time accounting for roughly 30 minutes of the 90-minute period. Those with a later sleep onset reported up to 13 more minutes of screen time in the presleep period than those with an earlier sleep onset. Study authors conclude that reducing screen time may help promote earlier sleep onset in children and adolescents.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org)