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Bedtime Technology Linked To Higher BMI And Less Sleep In Children

3 years, 7 months ago

6755  0
Posted on Jan 29, 2018, 11 p.m.

While it may be tempting to let your children enjoy staying up late to watch tv, play video games, or fiddle on their smartphones, using digital devices before bedtime just may be contributing to sleep and nutritional issues according to researchers at Penn State.

 

Researchers found after surveying parents about their childrens’ sleep and technology habits, that the use before bed was associated with poorer quality of sleep, less sleep, and more fatigue in the mornings. Children that used cell phones or watched tv before bed had higher body mass indexes. Results of this study suggesting a vicious looping cycle of poor sleep, rising BMIs with technology use in children that were published in Global Pediatric Health.

While it may be tempting to let your children enjoy staying up late to watch tv, play video games, or fiddle on their smartphones, using digital devices before bedtime just may be contributing to sleep and nutritional issues according to researchers at Penn State.

 

Researchers found after surveying parents about their childrens’ sleep and technology habits, that the use before bed was associated with poorer quality of sleep, less sleep, and more fatigue in the mornings. Children that used cell phones or watched tv before bed had higher body mass indexes. Results of this study suggesting a vicious looping cycle of poor sleep, rising BMIs with technology use in children that were published in Global Pediatric Health.

 

Previous research has shown that there is an association with more use of technology use and less sleep, with more inattention, and increased BMIs in adolescents. Studies show that up to 40% of children now have their own cell phone by the 5th grade, but there is not much known about the effects of technology on the younger population. Because of the importance of sleep to a child’s development being so critical it prompted researchers into trying to finding out the impacts.

 

Parents of 234 children in the age group of 8 to 17 years of age were asked about their technology and sleep habits, as well as activity and nutrition. Researchers asked parents to be specific in if their children were using computers, cell phones, tv, or video games during their technology time. After the researchers collected and analyzed the data they noted several adverse effects associated with the use of the different technologies right at bedtimes.

 

Children who were reported to play video games or watch tv had on average 30 minutes less sleep than others who did not. Children who used a computer or cell phone got on average an hour less sleep than others who did not. It was found that there was an association between the use of all 4 types of technology before bedtimes and an increased night time use of cell phones to do such things as waking up to text.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports these results, and recommends that parents should create healthy boundaries with their about the use of technology, which include things such as the requirement for their children to put away their devices during meal time and turning the devices off at night, and/or keeping cell phones out of their bedrooms at night time. Dr. Marsha Novick said that more research is needing to be done to determine the use of multiple devices will result in worsen the effects. Stating that even though there are many benefits for the use of technology, children need to have limits especially at bedtime to promote healthy childhood development and mental health.

Materials provided by Penn State.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Caitlyn Fuller, Eric Lehman, Steven Hicks, Marsha B. Novick. Bedtime Use of Technology and Associated Sleep Problems in Children. Global Pediatric Health, 2017; 4: 2333794X1773697 DOI: 10.1177/2333794X17736972

 

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