Children who spend time on their phones and tablets before bed are more prone to a disrupted night’s sleep in comparison to those who don’t, new findings suggest.
The research found a correlation between the use of media devices before bed and inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
This study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, is a review of 20 existing studies from four continents, involving more than 125,000 children aged 6-19.
The period of media device use was marked at 90 minutes before bedtime.
Apart from the use of said devices, their presence in the room was associated with decreased sleep quality.
The nature of social media and instant messaging always keeps you connected so the child is continually engaged in their mind even when they are not physically using the device.
Sleep distortion in childhood is known to have adverse effects on health.
This includes poor diet, obesity, sedative behaviour, reduced immune function and stunted growth, as well as mental health issues.
“Our study provides further proof of the detrimental effect of media devices on both sleep duration and quality,” said Ben Carter, a doctor from King’s College, London.
“Sleep is an often undervalued but important part of children’s development, with a regular lack of sleep causing a variety of health problems.
“With the ever growing popularity of portable media devices and their use in schools as a replacement for textbooks, the problem of poor sleep amongst children is likely to get worse.
“Our findings suggest that an integrated approach involving parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals is necessary to reduce access to these devices and encourage good sleeping habits near bedtime.”
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