Have you figured out that we're big sleep fans?
"We know that many, many parents rely on TV and video as part of their child's sleep routine," said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at the University of Washington and co-author of "The Elephant in the Living Room: Make TV Work for Your Kids".
"Watching television before bed makes it more difficult for children to fall asleep," he added. "Scientific data support that."
As proof, Christakis pointed to a recent study he led with University of Washington colleague Dr. Darcy Thompson that found that children under age 3 who watch television are at higher risk of disturbed sleep. Other studies have looked at the effects of TV viewing on older children and teens, and also found a link between TV, poor sleep and later bedtimes.
Christakis and Thompson examined data from a national health survey of children aged 4 months to 35 months, and evaluated parent interviews for more than 2,000 children. The result: 27 percent of the youngsters had irregular bedtime schedules, and almost 34 percent had irregular nap schedules.
The article goes on to point out that there is a correlation between hours of TV watched and disrupted sleep patterns but no proven cause-and-effect relationship.
Here is an interesting quote, wide open for mis-interpretation:
"The bottom line, according to Christakis: "If your kid is having a sleep problem, look at TV [habits] and see if it is playing a role. There is no need to modify TV if your kid is not having sleep problems."
Actually, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about your child's TV habits (exposure to violence, commercialization, and sexualization come quickly to mind), even if their sleep is fine.