Home » News » Bedroom TV, Computer May Hinder Child’s Sleep, Up Obesity

Bedroom TV, Computer May Hinder Child’s Sleep, Up Obesity

Bedroom TV, Computer May Hinder Child's Sleep, Up Obesity Canadian researchers have found that electronic devices in a child’s bedroom can be linked to limited sleep and increased risk of a child being overweight or obese.

A provincewide survey of Grade 5 students in Alberta showed that as little as one hour of additional sleep decreased the odds of being overweight or obese by 28 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

Children with one or more electronic devices in the bedroom — TVs, computers, video games and cellphones — were also far more likely to be overweight or obese.

Previous research has found that a bedroom TV or computer put an individual at greater risk for depression.

“If you want your kids to sleep better and live a healthier lifestyle, get the technology out of the bedroom,” said co-author Paul Veugelers, Ph.D. He said the research is the first to connect the dots on the relationship between sleep, diet and physical activity among kids.

For the study, nearly 3,400 Grade 5 students were asked about their nighttime sleep habits and access to electronics through the REAL Kids Alberta survey.

Half of the students had a TV, DVD player or video game console in their bedroom, 21 per cent had a computer and 17 per cent had a cellphone. Five per cent of students had all three types of devices.

Fifty-seven percent of students reported using electronics after they were supposed to be asleep, with watching TV and movies being the most popular activity. Twenty-seven percent of students used or watched three or more activities after bedtime.

Researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. The proportion increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices, with similar results reported among obese children.

Additional sleep was significantly associated with more physical activity and better diet choices, researchers found.

Co-author Christina Fung noted that children today are not sleeping as much as previous generations, with two-thirds not getting the recommended hours of sleep per night.

In addition to healthy lifestyle habits, a good night’s sleep has been linked to better academic outcomes, fewer mood disorders and other positive health outcomes, she said.

“It’s important to teach these children at an earlier age and teach them healthy habits when they are younger.”

Study results are found online in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

Source: University of Alberta

Child watching television photo by shutterstock.

Bedroom TV, Computer May Hinder Child’s Sleep, Up Obesity

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Bedroom TV, Computer May Hinder Child’s Sleep, Up Obesity. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 24 Oct 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.