Videos

TV Time Hurts Preschoolers’ Sleep, Too!

November 2019

Full interview with Abigail Helm: https://youtu.be/N7CdeFYaLCY

BOSTON, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preschool-aged kids get about ten to 13 hours of sleep every day, including naps! Parents know a lot of things can get in the way of a sleep. Now researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst are studying the impact of television on young children’s’ sleep.

TV or no TV in the bedroom. For some kids, it’s allowed. Others don’t have TV at their fingertips but wish they did. Developmental scientist Abigail Helm and colleagues at the Somneuro Sleep Lab studied 470 kids between ages three and six. The researchers surveyed parents about their kids’ sleep habits and found 36 percent of the kids had TVs in their bedrooms and one-third of those kids typically fell asleep with the television on.

The researchers then outfitted most of the kids with a Fitbit-like watch called an actigraph, which provides a reliable estimate of sleep.

“It helps us get an idea of what their activity looks like during the day and what it looks like when they’re sleeping and when they’re napping,” explained Helm.

The researchers found children who watched more than one hour of TV a day or those who had a TV in their bedroom got less sleep than those who watched less TV and did not have a TV in their room. To improve preschoolers’ sleep, researchers suggest parents remove TV from the bedroom. If that’s not an option, Helm said, “maybe try to turn off the TV 30 minutes before lights out and make that part of the routine.”

Finally, watch an extra-gentle show before TV time’s up. Like Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood on PBS, Kipper on Sprout, or Molang on Disney Junior.

Even though some of the kids who watched more TV napped longer than the kids who watched less, that nap time was not enough to make up for the decrease in nighttime sleep.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Ken Ashe, Editor; Roque Correa and Kirk Manson, Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

(Sources: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352721819300580, https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Supports-Childhood-Sleep-Guidelines.aspx, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/extra-gentle-tv-shows-for-preschoolers)


Spanish Translation

BOSTON, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — La Academia Americana de Pediatría recomienda que los niños pequeños duerman entre 10 y 13 horas cada día, incluyendo la siesta. Y a veces no es fácil lograr que duerman lo suficiente. Hoy, los expertos de la Universidad de Massachusetts, Amherst estudian el impacto que tiene la televisión sobre el sueño de los pequeños.

Unos padres permiten que sus hijos vean televisión en el dormitorio. Otros niños, aunque les gustaría, no tienen tan fácil acceso a la tele. La psicóloga Abigail Helm, PhD, y sus colegas del laboratorio de sueño  analizaron los patrones de sueño de 470 niños de entre 3 y 6 años de edad. Determinaron que un 36 por ciento tenían una televisión en el dormitorio y un tercio de esos niños generalmente se dormían con la televisión encendida.

Seguidamente los expertos le pusieron a cada niño un reloj digital denominado actigráfo, que registra la cantidad de horas dormidas. El estudio determinó que los niños que veían más de una hora de televisión diaria o tenían un televisor en su cuarto dormían menos que aquellos que no tenían televisores en el dormitorio y veían menos televisión. Para mejorar los patrones de sueño infantil, los expertos recomiendan sacar los televisores de los cuartos. Si no se puede, apagar el televisor 30 minutos antes de la hora de dormir y convertirlo en parte de la rutina diaria.

Aunque los niños que veían televisión dormían siestas más largas, ese sueño no compensaba las horas perdidas por la noche.

Los contribuyentes a este reportaje incluyen: Cyndy McGrath, Supervisora  Y Productora de Campo;Ken Ashe, Editor; Roque Correa, Camarografo.

Producido por Child Trends News Service en asocio con Ivanhoe Broadcast News y auspiciado por una beca de la National Science Foundation.