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'Media diet' could affect kids' sleep

Jonathan Warren

13.08.2012

Sleep

Jonathan Warren
Turning off the television in the evening has long been considered a way to encourage kids to get better sleep in their children's beds - but if that's not an option, a new study suggests that changing their media diet can also have a positive effect. The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that when children watched age-appropriate content with little or no violence, they slept better and had fewer emotional and behavioural problems in their waking lives. Programmes like Curious George, Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street were found to be beneficial when shown to children between the ages of three and five over a period of 12 months. "Children with sleep problems were more likely to improve, and if they didn't have sleep problems, the children were less likely to develop them over time," Michele Garrison of the Seattle Children's Research Institute, the lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times. However, after the study was over and children were allowed to choose their own viewing material again, the effects of the intervention decreased. The most common problem among the children participating was difficulty in falling asleep in the first place, with 26 per cent taking longer than 20 minutes to get to sleep for two to four nights per week.

About the author

Jonathan Warren

Jonathan Warren

Time4Sleep owner