Television watching doesn’t come with any many perks for preschoolers. Watching the right content might help stimulate the brain of the child, but most children who have control of the remote aren’t likely to watch content that can be considered brain fodder.
When the World Health Organization had recently revealed its guidelines for preschoolers TV-watching, many had said that it didn’t take into account this factor that good content on the television could help children learn and sharpen their cognitive skills.
The WHO had recommended that preschoolers shouldn’t watch more than an hour of TV and one of the reasons it gave for that was that too much TV is likely to steal away their sleep. Now a new research backs this claim of the organization. It says that more than hour of TV for preschoolers can cut out some sleep time from the children’s routine.
What Did This New Study Reveal?
A latest research conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst says that preschoolers who watch television for more than an hour lose their sleep compared to those kids who don’t watch that much television.
This report has found its place in the Sleep Health journal and has also found that 36% of preschoolers, as in children in the age bracket of 2 to 5, have a television in their bedroom and one-third of these fall asleep with it still on. Most of these children are watching adult content which is stimulating or violent when they fall asleep.
For the assessment, researchers made 470 preschoolers participate. These participants wore actigraphs for about 16 days. Parents or caretakers of these children were also given questionnaires to fill to find out about the children’s demographics, health, and behavior. It was revealed that 54% of these preschoolers’ television time exceeded the recommended time by WHO.
The study says that television-watching has a negative effect on the sleep of children. Even though the children who watched TV and slept less at nighttime, napped during the day, they weren’t able to catch up with the sleep they had lost. Following main conclusions were drawn:
- Compared to children who watched plus one hour of TV, the kids who watched television for less than one hour slept longer by 22 minutes a day/2.5 hours a week
- The preschoolers who did not have a television in their room slept 30 minutes longer in the night than those who did
- Moreover, children who had a television in their room, slept for 17 minutes less in 24 hours even though their day naps were 12 minutes longer
Researchers involved, hence, want parents to know that television is not good for their preschoolers’ sleep. Many parents think that playing the TV would help their child relax and nod off which is not the case. Scientists are now looking forward to conduct research on the influence that handheld smart devices have on the sleep of children.