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Television Causing Sleep Problems For Young Kids

June 27, 2011

According to a new study, young children who watch television after 7 p.m. are more likely to have problems sleeping.

The study found that three to five-year-olds who were allowed too much TV time were more likely to wake up during the night and suffer from bad dreams.

The researchers asked parents of 617 children to report on their TV habits and any sleeping difficulties they might have.

The found one in five had trouble staying asleep at night or being tired during the day for most of each week.

Those who watched TV after 7 p.m. had the most difficulties, with 28 percent suffering sleep disturbances compared to 19 percent of those who watched little or no TV at night.

The study said about 60 children averaged an hour or more daily of violent TV, which included cartoons.  Thirty-seven percent of these had frequent sleep problems compared to 19 percent who saw little or no violence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for children up to age two and no more than two hours a day for older children. 

Previous studies have shown that at least one in four U.S. pre-schoolers have TVs in their bedrooms.

Dr Marc Weissbluth, a sleep disorders specialist at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, said bedtime stories and cuddling may be a way to help calm kids.

Dr. Michelle Garrison, lead author and a scientist at Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute, said banning television for children may be unreasonable, but suggests eliminating nighttime or violent TV.

The study was published on Monday by the journal Pediatrics.

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