Using screens before bedtime impairs children’s sleep and may diminish their quality of life.
For the study, British researchers studied 6,616 children, average age 12, who reported their use of screens, mobile phone, tablet, e-reader, computer, portable media player, television or game console, during the hour before bedtime.
They also filled out a well-validated 10-item questionnaire measuring worries and stresses, social functioning and other determinants of quality-of-life.
The children reported their bedtimes, how long it took them to fall asleep and how long their sleep lasted. More than two-thirds said they used at least one screen at bedtime. The study is in Environment International.
Night-time screen use was associated with poor sleep – both difficulty falling asleep and waking too early. Mobile phones and televisions were associated with 60 percent higher odds of waking up late, and children who used screens at bedtime consistently scored lower on quality-of-life tests. Using screens in a dark room was associated with worse sleep outcomes than using them with the lights on.
“These findings need to be confirmed in future studies,” said the lead author, Michael O. Mireku, a lecturer at the University of Lincoln.
In the meantime, he said, “Parents should just be aware of this possible association.”
Source: The New York Times