Screen use before bedtime: Consequences for nighttime sleep in young children

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Infant Behavior and Development


There is increasing interest in the relation between screen use and sleep problems in early childhood. In a sample of 30-month-old children, this study used observational measures of screen use during the hour or so leading up to bedtime, parent reports of screen use during the child's bedtime routine, and actigraphic measures of toddler sleep to complement parent-reported sleep problems. Whether screen use was observed during the pre-bedtime period or was reported by the parents as part of the nightly bedtime routine, greater screen use in either context was associated with more parent-reported sleep problems. Additionally, more frequent parent-reported screen use during the bedtime routine was also associated with actigraphic measures of later sleep, shorter sleep, and more night-to-night variability in duration and timing of sleep. These associations suggest the negative consequences of screen use for children's sleep extend both to aspects of sleep reported by parents (e.g., bedtime resistance, signaled awakenings) and to aspects measured by actigraphy (e.g., shorter and more variable sleep).

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