Children’s Sleep Significantly Affected by Couch-Potato Lifestyle
In today’s society there are so many things that keep children inactive. From television to handheld video games, there is a plethora of passive activities to busy their minds, but leave their bodies out of the game. Very few children today are without any form of electronic entertainment. What effect do these forms of entertainment really have on children?
The Effects on Children
For each hour of the day young children spent inactive, it takes an additional three minutes for them to drift off to sleep. This information comes from a recent study conducted by New Zealand researchers.
The University of Aukland specialists studied sleep patterns of 519 7-year-old children. They monitored the children with an apparatus secured to their waists that can sense from a child’s movements if they are asleep, awake but inactive, or active.
What Were the Results?
This study which was published in a specialist British journal, Archives of Disease in Childhood, offers significant information, especially to parents.
After retiring to bed, children nodded off to sleep after about 26 minutes on average.
The average duration of their sleep was 10.1 hours.
Children that had been inactive during the day did not fall asleep as quickly as those that had been active.
Each hour of inactivity increased the time required before dozing off by approximately 3.1 minutes.
Why is This Information Important?
Does it really matter how quickly or for how long active and inactive children sleep? The answer is a very clear “yes.” Children who sleep poorly or for short periods of time are more likely to have inadequate performance at school. They also have a greater tendency toward becoming obese.
What Were the Other Findings?
The study also took into account what effects going to bed after 9 p.m. and the amount of television watched had on the time it took a child to fall asleep. To the surprise of many, the results showed that these factors had no effect on the amount of time it took the children to go to sleep.
Tire the Kids Out Before Bedtime
Many parents would tell you that tiring the children out before bedtime makes for a much better night’s sleep. Although this isn’t a breaking news flash for parents, they now have statistical backing to support what they already knew. The researchers wrote, “These findings emphasize the importance of the physical activity for children, not only for fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for promoting good sleep.”
Getting good sleep on a daily basis is of the utmost importance to the health of adults and children alike. So if you are aiming to have your kids fall asleep quicker and sleep longer to benefit yourself as well as their health, you should limit their sedentary time and encourage them to be active. Couch potatoes do not sleep like they should, so get them off from the couch and get them moving. Parents and children alike will appreciate it in the long run.