TV watching linked with children’s lack of sleep

While countless parents doze off during the nightly news or late-night talk shows, so, too, it seems, are children falling asleep with the television on. And this isn’t a good thing. According to a study of more than 1,800 kids from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years, there is a consistent link between television viewing and shorter sleep duration.

The report partnered investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health and is featured in the May issue of the scholarly journal Pediatrics. The study tracked how much time each day infants were in a room where a TV was on, how much time per day older children watched TV, whether children ages 4 to 7 slept in a room where a TV was present and the average daily amount of sleep.

Each hour of TV viewing was associated with seven fewer minutes of sleep a night, the report stated.So if your child is falling asleep to Disney Channel or SpongeBob reruns and waking up for school grumpy, you might want to think about pulling the plug.

Scott Warden is the associate editor of OSV Newsweekly.