Washington: Researchers have confirmed that television viewing indeed results in reduced sleep among young children.
A study following more than 1,800 children from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years 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.
The study participants, children and their mothers, were 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 6 months old and then annually for the next seven years - regarding 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 4 to 7 slept in a room where a TV was present and their child's average daily amount of sleep.
The study revealed that, over the course of the study, each additional hour of television viewing was associated with 7 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 television reduced average sleep around a half-hour per day.
The study has been published in the journal Pediatrics.