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Setting a Technology Curfew improves Sleep

Hospital news | Thursday, August 28, 2014

Contact: Sasha Dull

The Respiratory Therapy/Sleep Study staff at Crossing Rivers Health, formerly known as Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, urges parents to consider setting a curfew for technology devices. They have learned that a study published in the journal Pediatrics January 2013 examined screen time before bedtime in children ages 5-18 years. Research analyzed activities including computer, TV, and video game usage in the 90 minutes before sleep from a time use survey completed by more than 2,000 children. Overall, screen time occupied about 30 minutes of the pre-sleep period. Watching TV was the most commonly reported activity. Kids who fell asleep later had more screen time before sleeping.

Previous research shows technology can be a bedtime problem for teens. Teens tend to use multiple forms of technology late into the night and therefore get less sleep at night and are more likely to fall asleep in school. Technology use at bedtime for all ages is linked to delayed sleep onset, sleep anxiety, and short sleep duration.

With a huge boom in technology and social networks, it can be very difficult to obtain a distraction free sleep environment. Encourage setting a technology curfew earlier in the evening and keep TV out of the bedroom as well as computers, tablets, and cell phones. Parents can enforce the curfew by not allowing teens to charge electronics in their bedrooms—electronics can be turned in at a certain time and can charge in the parents’ bedroom to ensure that teens are not secretly utilizing electronics.

The new website for Crossing Rivers Health, crossingrivers.org, includes a health information library with many resources: health tools, calculators, assessments and health quizzes including a sleep quiz. Respiratory Therapy/Sleep Study staff encourages area residents to take a few moments and check out the health information library.