A new study has directly linked the late-evening use of electronics to disrupted sleep in children. The research, started in Helsinki back in 2006, focused on the pre-bedtime habits of ten and eleven year olds in twenty-seven schools throughout the country and is thought to be one of the longest-term academic investigations into the issue. Participating children were asked about their sleep routines on weekdays and weekends, and completed the questions at eighteen month intervals.
It was found that kids who had access to technology in their bedrooms – TV and/or computer in this case – general got less sleep than their counterparts who didn’t, and of that group boys were more likely than girls to delay their bedtimes in favour of the electronic entertainment. These findings correlate to more recent studies, which include mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablet computers.
"Our main findings were that computer use and television viewing predicted shorter sleep duration and later bedtimes. The more children used a computer or watched a TV, the greater was the decrease in sleep duration and the delay in bedtime 18 months later,” said researchers, published in the journal BMC Public Health. “A media presence in the bedroom was also related to irregular sleep habits: a television and a computer in the bedroom among boys, and a television in the bedroom among girls."
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