Children's sleep hardly affected by screen use, study finds

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Children’s sleep hardly affected by screen use, study finds [Photo: Getty]

Parents, relax: Your child’s screen use has little effect on their potential to get a good night’s sleep. 

That’s according to the results of a major new sleep study, which found between 50% and 90% of school children are not getting enough shut-eye.

The outcome prompted further investigation into the impact of technology, including the regular use of smartphones and tablets.

The addition research found other factors are significantly more to blame when it comes to poor sleep.

The study, based on data from the United States’ 2016 National Survey of Children’s House, found every hour of screen use reduced sleep time by just three to eight minutes per night.

In practice, this would mean a teenager who didn’t use technology would have an average nightly slumber of eight hours and 51 minutes, compared with a teenager who spent eight hours a day looking at screens (eight hours and 21 minutes).

“The findings suggest that the relationship between sleep and screen use in children is extremely modest,” says Professor Andrew Przybylski, author of the study published in the Journal of Paediatrics.

Przybylski said parents should look at other factors when helping their children to nod off at a sensible hours.

He said: “Focusing on bedtime routines and regular patterns of sleep, such as consistent wake-up times, are much more effective strategies for helping young people sleep than thinking screens themselves play a significant role.”

Previously, time spent on smartphones and tablets has been linked to mental health issues and obesity in children.

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