Are Bedtime Access, Use of Portable Devices Associated with Poor Sleep?

Portable media devices, such as cell phones and tablets, are ever present in children’s lives, and the majority of children and adolescents have devices present where they sleep. So does access to and use of these devices cut into the quantity and quality of their sleep? A new article published online by JAMA Pediatrics suggests they do.
 
Sleep is crucial for children for healthy physical and psychological development.
 
Ben Carter, Ph.D., M.Sc., of King’s College London, and coauthors reviewed medical literature for an analysis that included randomized clinical trials and other study designs. They assessed 20 studies – involving 125,198 children with an average age of 14.5 years – for methodological quality and included 17, with 11 studies included in the meta-analysis.
 
The authors report a consistent association between bedtime media device use and inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness. Children who had access to but didn’t use media devices at night also were more likely to have inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness.
 
Limitations of the study include an inability to establish causality.
 
“We recommend that interventions to minimize device access and use need to be developed and evaluated. Interventions should include a multidisciplinary approach from teachers and health care professionals to empower parents to minimize the deleterious influences on child health,” the report concludes.
 
(JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 31, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2341.