Screen time creates sleep problems in children

I believe that one of the most difficult challenges that parents face today is to limit our children's usage of electronic devices.

It's certainly a big issue in our house even with our 4-year old who loves to play with the IPad. He usually plays educational or developmental games that involve puzzles or learning something such as letters, words or numbers. Having said this, we also let him play general entertainment games where there is not violence or destruction. 

We watch little television during the week, partly because we are generally busy doing something, or are supposed to be somewhere else than home (tennis lesson, soccer game, swimming lesson, etc). However, I admit, we watch more TV during the weekends, especially movies.

So, as much as we want to control screen time, I have to admit that our kids, like most kids today, are exposed to a certain amount of screen time. Of course, I am aware of the health and social problems that are associated with too much screen time or electronics, particularly when considering children. But, I was not particularly familiar with a problem that was the object of a very recent study.

This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a study conducted by Dr. Egambaram Senthilvel from the University of Louisville. The researcher showed that children who view television for more than an hour and a half sleep less than those who watch little or no television. While television was the main focus of the study, Dr. Senthilvel also mentioned that other types of screens such as computers and video games can also negatively affect the brain’s ability to sleep in the evening.

Dr. Senthilvel also said "In my practice, I see at least three to five children every week with a sleep problem, whose sleep problems are mainly related to the amount of time they spend on electronic devices”.  

So, if you have a child who is having sleep problems, you may want to ask yourself, how much time he/she is using electronic devices? Click here to read more about this study.

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