387 Sleep & Screen Time

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Research by Przybylski, A. K. (2019).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S

Are you a parent who wants your child to get the proper amount of sleep? Does your child spend so much screen time on games, movies, and social media that you worry it interferes with their sleep? American Academy of Pediatrics recommends less than 2 hours of screen time each day.

Psychologist Przybylski analyzed data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. He wanted to determine whether the length of time spent on digital devices could predict differences in young children’s sleep. Caregivers of over 50,000 children completed self-report questions regarding their children’s sleeping habits and digital screen time.

Results? Although sleep decreased with increased screen time, the average time decreased was 30 minutes/night.   Developmental and social factors were important in accounting for differences in sleep-time so screen time on its own had little practical impact on sleep. Thus, not to worry about the screen’s effect on sleep loss.

However, screen time blue UV light ray suppresses the release of melatonin in our brains, leading to lower sleep quality.  Thus, limit screen time 2 hours before bedtime, but allow them to read as long as they want, as reading is the tool to academic success.

Reference:

Przybylski, A. K. (2019). Digital screen time and pediatric sleep: Evidence from a preregistered cohort study. The Journal of Pediatrics, 205, 218-223.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Health Letter. Harvard Health Publishing.

 ( May, 2012 Updated: August 13, 2018)

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About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

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