TRUE OR FALSE: Kids fall asleep fasterif they watch tv before bed

It’s definitely FALSE!

Sleep is one of our most important health requirements and often overlooked. A child’s mind and body needs sleep – just as much as air, food, and water – in order to grow and thrive. In fact, turning OFF the TV (and other digital devices) about an hour before bedtime is the best thing you can do to ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep.

Research has associated poor sleep with mood swings, impulsive or aggressive behavior, and anxiety. It also affects blood sugar and blood pressure levels putting kids at higher risk for obesity and developing diabetes and heart problems. A lack of quality sleep can cause poor school performance and problems with attention and concentration. It decreases the production of protective, infection battling substances important for immunity and the ability to heal. Poor sleep habits can affect hormones that build muscles and can interrupt normal growth in children.

What happens if my child watches TV just before bed?
Watching television before bedtime affects sleep patterns and can lead to more bedtime resistance. The blue light from the TV (or digital device) makes the body believe it’s daytime. The changing light of TVs and computers will stimulate the brain and can reduce melatonin levels (this is the hormone that helps with sleep).

What if I leave the TV on to help my child fall asleep?
The changing sounds of the TV, even at a low volume, can break up the quality of sleep. Programs will keep kids interested and their minds will have a hard time letting go to relax, and may even lead to nightmares.

Is it ok to have a TV in my child’s bedroom?
Research shows that kids with a TV in their bedroom spend more inactive time in their rooms and may lose motivation to exercise. They will spend less time on activities like reading, pretend play, and hobbies like art and music. It’s best to keep the TV in a family room or other common area where you can monitor what your child is watching, and for how long.

The bottom line is that TV before bed is a bad habit you don’t want your child to develop.

Try these tips to manage a relaxing bedtime plan:
1. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule with a consistent bedtime.
2. Remove TVs from your child’s bedroom.
3. Turn the TV (and other devices) OFF at least one hour before bedtime.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your CPCMG pediatrician.

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