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Bedtime use of media devices more than doubles the risk of poor sleep in children

Children using devices such as smartphones and tablets at bedtime have over double the risk of a disrupted night’s sleep compared to children without access to such devices, according to a new study led by researchers from King’s College London.

Previous research suggests that 72 per cent of children and 89 per cent of adolescents have at least one device in their bedrooms and most are used near bedtime. The speed at which these devices have developed — and their growing popularity among families — has outpaced research in this area, meaning that the impact on sleep is not well understood.

This new research, published in JAMA Pediatrics, is a review of 20 existing studies from four continents, involving more than 125,000 children aged 6-19 (with an average age of 15).

The researchers from King’s found that bedtime use of media devices was associated with an increased likelihood of inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Bedtime use was classified as engagement with a device within 90 minutes of going to sleep.

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