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Evening Media Use Affects Sleep in Children

Last Updated: June 28, 2011.

Evening media or daytime violent media use may increase sleep problems in preschool-aged children, but nonviolent daytime media use does not, according to a study published online June 27 in Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Evening media or daytime violent media use may increase sleep problems in preschool-aged children, but nonviolent daytime media use does not, according to a study published online June 27 in Pediatrics.

Michelle M. Garrison, Ph.D., from the Seattle Children's Research Institute, and colleagues analyzed the impact of media content, timing, and use behaviors on sleep in 612 children, aged 3 to 5 years. Data on sleep measures were collected using the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire. Data on media use, including content titles, were recorded in media diaries, and titles were coded for ratings, violence, scariness, and pacing.

The investigators identified an average daily screen time of 72.9 minutes, of which 14.1 minutes occurred after 7 p.m. Children with a television in their bedroom had increased media consumption and a greater likelihood of sleep problems, with at least one sleep problem reported by 18 percent of parents. Each additional hour of evening media use or daytime use of media with violent content was associated with significantly increased sleep problem scores. Having a television in the bedroom and low-income was associated with a trend toward greater impact of daytime violent media use.

"We found that evening media use and daytime violent media use were both associated with increased sleep problems, but daytime nonviolent media use was not," the authors write.

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