Violent TV Could Give Kids Sleep Trouble, Study Says

by Chris Curley on August 7, 2012

Letting young kids watch violent television shows before bed significantly increases their likelihood of having a bad night’s sleep, HealthDay News reported Aug. 6.

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 who watch non-violent programming in the hour before going to sleep are 64 percent less likely to have trouble falling asleep, wake up during the night, or have nightmares than children in this age range who watch programming containing violence — even cartoon violence — researchers from the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute find.

For parents, “making a relatively simple change in what kids are watching is a change worth the effort,” says study co-author Michelle Garrison, Ph.D.

The best thing for kids may be to turn off the TV altogether, Garrison notes.

“Even shows with really good content can still be a problem for sleep,” she says. “When kids are reading a book or playing with toys before bed, they control the pace. But TV ramps their brains up when they’re trying to slow down.”

The study appears online in the journal Pediatrics.

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