Many of us are sleep deprived these days including our children. One of the common culprits of too little sleep and often disrupted sleep is television.
A recent study found that sleep problems were more common in 3 to 5 year olds who watched more television after 7pm. According to the study, about 20 percent of the 112 children involved had sleep problems almost every day of the week. Their issues included difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, nightmares and being sleepy during the day. The children who watched violent television at night had the most sleep problems.
Previous studies have also noted that a TV in the bedroom for children is associated with difficulty falling asleep, delayed bedtimes and decreased overall sleep. It is estimated that 20-40 percent of US preschool children have a TV in their room.
Many parents site the reason they put a TV in their child’s room was to help them fall asleep. However, more soothing bedtime routines such as singing, reading or cuddling lead to a better night’s sleep. A bedroom environment should be cool, quiet and ideally dark although a nightlight is fine. For a preschooler, a bedtime around 7 to 9 pm with a consistent bedtime routine tends to be the most appropriate so that enough time is allowed to awaken in the morning for school or daycare activities. The recommended total amount of sleep (including naps) is around 10 to 12 hours.
So, turn off the TV and take it out of the bedroom. Cuddle up with your kids and a good book before bed and have sweet dreams and healthier children.