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Mobile devices more detrimental to children's sleep than TVs

A new study published in the Pediatrics journal reveals that mobile devices including smartphones and tablets are more disruptive to a child's sleep pattern than television. The light emitted by such devices interferes with the production of melatonin which helps regulate sleep. The study examined the impact that sleeping near a mobile device or a television has on sleep. More than two thousand fourth and seventh graders were surveyed across 29 schools in two communities in Massachusetts. Researchers determined exposure to screens by asking the students how often they slept with a mobile device near them and what time they went to bed and then got up in the morning. What researchers found was that children sleeping near a mobile device reported 20.6 fewer minutes of sleep per weekday than children who never slept near a small screen, independent of having a television in their room. Children who had televisions in their room had 18 fewer minutes of sleep during the week, independent of small screens. The presence of a mobile device or a TV resulted in children going to bed at later times as well. While further study is needed that would include an observational component and a set control, this study result still offers valuable information that can help a child's health care professional to diagnose sleep related issues.*

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