Harvard Study: Television impairs kid’s sleep patterns

21 Apr

Moi wrote in Study: Blue light may affect the sleep habits of students:
The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. One of the mantras of this blog is there should not be a one size fits all approach to education and that there should be a variety of options to achieve the goal of a good basic education for all children.
The University of Illinois Extension has some good advice for helping children with study habits. In Study Habits and Homework he University of Illinois recommends:

Parents can certainly play a major role in providing the encouragement, environment, and materials necessary for successful studying to take place.
Some general things adults can do, include:
Establish a routine for meals, bedtime and study/homework
Provide books, supplies, and a special place for studying
Encourage the child to “ready” himself for studying (refocus attention and relax)
Offer to study with the child periodically (call out spelling words or do flash cards) http://urbanext.illinois.edu/succeed/habits.cfm

Some folks claim they need as few as four hours of sleep. For most folks, that is not healthy and it definitely isn’t healthy for children.

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, ‘Blue Light’ May Impair Students’ Sleep, Studies Say:

Schools may soon face an unintended consequence of more flexible technology and more energy-efficient buildings: sleepier students.
That’s because evidence is mounting that use of artificial light from energy-efficient lamps and computer and mobile-electronics screens later and later in the day can lead to significant sleep problems for adults and, particularly, children….

Technology may be interrupting children’s sleep patterns.

Tara Haelle reported in the Yahoo news post, More TV, Less Sleep for Kids:

A recent study found that children tended to get slightly less sleep with the more TV they watched. The most dramatic drop in daily sleep time, however, was linked to having a TV in the bedroom for minority children.
The authors suggested that reducing TV time and/or removing televisions from children’s bedrooms might help their sleep time.
The study, led by Elizabeth Cespedes, of the Obesity Prevention Program at Harvard Medical School, looked at the possible impact of television of children’s sleep.
The researchers collected daily average TV viewing information and sleep time from the parents of 1,864 children, starting at 6 months old and then once a year through age 7.
The researchers also gathered information on which children had a TV in their bedroom when they were aged 4 through 7.
Then the researchers analyzed the interaction of television viewing and sleep along with the children’s age, sex, race/ethnicity, income and mothers’ education level.
The group of children were diverse, including 35 percent who were racial/ethnic minorities and 37 percent who had family incomes of at least $70,000.
The children went from getting an average 12.2 hours of sleep each day at age 6 months old to an average of 9.8 hours a day at age 7.
During the same time span, the amount of TV the children watched increased from 0.9 hours a day to 1.6 hours a day.
About 17 percent of the children had a TV in their bedrooms when they were 4 years old, which increased to 23 percent by the time the children were 7 years old.
In comparing TV viewing time with sleep, the researchers found that each additional hour per day of watching TV was linked to seven fewer minutes of sleep each day.
Having a TV in children’s room also appeared to influence how much sleep the children got, but only for racial/ethnic minority children.
Among racial and ethnic minorities, children got an average 31 fewer minutes of sleep each day if they had a TV in their bedrooms than if they didn’t have a TV.
Among white, non-Hispanic children, however, a TV in the bedroom was only linked to eight fewer minutes of sleep each day, but this finding could have been the result of chance.
“Our study supports a negative influence of TV viewing and bedroom TV on children’s sleep,” the researchers wrote.
“TV viewing and the presence of a bedroom TV track over time,” they added. “Thus, modest decreases in sleep duration could form lasting habits leading to substantial sleep deficits as children age.”
The researchers suggested that making changes related to children’s TV viewing could have a positive impact on their sleep time.


• Article
Television Viewing, Bedroom Television, and Sleep Duration From Infancy to Mid-Childhood
1. Elizabeth M. Cespedes, SMa,b,
2. Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SMa,b,
3. Ken Kleinman, ScDa,
4. Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, MPHa,
5. Susan Redline, MD, MPHc, and
6. Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPHb,d
1. aObesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, Massachusetts;
2. bDepartment of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts;
3. cBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and
4. dDivision of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts
BACKGROUND: Television and insufficient sleep are associated with poor mental and physical health. This study assessed associations of TV viewing and bedroom TV with sleep duration from infancy to midchildhood.
METHOD: We studied 1864 children in Project Viva. Parents reported children’s average daily TV viewing and sleep (at 6 months and annually from 1–7 years) and the presence of a bedroom TV (annually 4–7 years). We used mixed effects models to assess associations of TV exposures with contemporaneous sleep, adjusting for child age, gender, race/ethnicity, maternal education, and income.
RESULTS: Six hundred forty-three children (35%) were racial/ethnic minorities; 37% of households had incomes ≤ $70 000. From 6 months to 7 years, mean (SD) sleep duration decreased from 12.2 (2.0) hours to 9.8 (0.9) hours per day; TV viewing increased from 0.9 (1.2) hours to 1.6 (1.0) hours per day. At 4 years, 17% had a bedroom TV, rising to 23% at 7 years. Each 1 hour per day increase in lifetime TV viewing was associated with 7 minutes per day (95% confidence interval [CI]: 4 to 10) shorter sleep. The association of bedroom TV varied by race/ethnicity; bedroom TV was associated with 31 minutes per day shorter sleep (95% CI: 16 to 45) among racial/ethnic minority children, but not among white, non-Hispanic children (8 fewer minutes per day [95% CI: −19 to 2]).
CONCLUSIONS: More TV viewing, and, among racial/ethnic minority children, the presence of a bedroom TV, were associated with shorter sleep from infancy to midchildhood.
Key Words:
• television
• sleep duration
• sleep hygiene
• childhood
• Accepted February 11, 2014.
• Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
1. Published online April 14, 2014

(doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3998)
1. » AbstractFree
2. Full Text (PDF)Free

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teachers(s), and school. The students must arrive at school ready to learn and that includes being rested. Parent(s) and guardian(s) must ensure their child is properly nourished and rested as well as providing a home environment which is conducive to learning. Teachers must have strong subject matter knowledge and strong pedagogic skills. Schools must enforce discipline and provide safe places to learn. For more information on preparing your child for high school, see the U.S. Department of Education’s Tools for Success http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/tools-for-success/index.html


National Sleep Foundation’s Teens and Sleep http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/teens-and-sleep

Teen Health’s Common Sleep Problems http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/sleep.html

CBS Morning News’ Sleep Deprived Kids and Their Disturbing Thoughts

Psychology Today’s Sleepless in America

National Association of State Board’s of Education Fit, Healthy and Ready to Learn

U.S. Department of Education’s Tools for Success

Another study: Sleep problems can lead to behavior problems in children

Stony Brook Medicine study: Teens need sleep to function properly and make healthy food choices https://drwilda.com/2013/06/21/stony-brook-medicine-study-teens-need-sleep-to-function-properly-and-make-healthy-food-choices/

University of Massachusetts Amherst study: Preschoolers need naps Does school start too early? https://drwilda.com/tag/too-little-sleep-raises-obesity-risk-in-children/

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One Response to “Harvard Study: Television impairs kid’s sleep patterns”


  1. Excessive TV viewing linked to reduced sleep in young childrenBig Online News | Big Online News - June 20, 2014

    […] a sleep detriment in children, study findsHarvard Study: Television impairs kid’s sleep patternsCatching Zzz’s….TV a sleep detriment in children, study findsChronic insufficient sleep […]

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