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TV Can Disrupt Sleep in Young Children

TV Can Disrupt Sleep in Young Children A new study confirms previous findings that both television viewing and sleeping in a room with a TV can decrease total sleep time for kids.

The decline in sleep, in turn, can lead to negative effects on both mental and physical health.

Researchers followed more than 1,800 children from ages six months to nearly eight years and found a small but consistent association between increased television viewing and shorter sleep duration.

The presence of a television in the room where a child sleeps also was associated with less sleep, particularly in minority children.

As reported in the journal Pediatrics, the study is the first to examine the connection between television and sleep duration over several years.

Investigators followed children and their mothers enrolled in Project Viva, a long-term investigation of the health effects of several factors during pregnancy and after birth.

This study analyzed information reported by mothers when the children were around six months old and then annually for the next seven years.

Mothers kept track of how much time each day infants were in a room where a television was on, how much time older children watched television daily, whether children ages four to seven slept in a room where a TV was present and their child’s average daily amount of sleep.

Researchers discovered that over the course of the study, each additional hour of television viewing was associated with seven fewer minutes of sleep daily, with the effects appearing to be stronger in boys than in girls.

Racial and ethnic minority children were much more likely to sleep in a room where a television was present, and among those children, the presence of a bedroom TV reduced average sleep around a half-hour per day.

Source: Massachusetts General Hospital


Young boy watching television in his bedroom photo by shutterstock.

TV Can Disrupt Sleep in Young Children

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). TV Can Disrupt Sleep in Young Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.