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Do Children with Smartphones Get Less Sleep?

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A new study conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of California Berkeley shows that having a smartphone in the bedroom can lessen the amount of sleep a child gets even more than a TV. These small screens can not only reduce sleep time but also decrease the value of the sleep that children do get.

“Despite the importance of sleep to child health, development and performance in school, many children are not sleeping enough,” lead researcher Jennifer Falbe told WebMD. According to the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, pre-teens need at least ten hours of sleep a day, while teenagers need at least 9 hours.

Reasons for this decrease in the quality of sleep were unclear, although the study did show that kids who had some sort of ‘small screen’ (generally a cell phone, iPod or other small device) slept on average 21 minutes less and went to bed 37 minutes later than children who did not have access to a small device in their bedroom.

Now, it might not seem like much, but with the way┬áREM cycles work, that missing hour can make quite a bit of difference in the quality of sleep and how rested children are when they wake up the next day. And that’s not even mentioning the likelihood of being woken up in the middle of the night by a late-night text, email or Facebook alert.

To ensure that kids are getting all the sleep they need to develop and grow, doctors are recommending that parents place a curfew of one hour before bed for small devices, and that the devices are not allowed in the bedroom at all.

I don’t have kids, but it certainly makes a lot of sense to me. I can’t tell you how often I was woken up by a late night text before I moved my cell phone to a different side of the room. If you have kids, let me know what you think! Do you let your kids take their phones into the bedroom? Do you think it effects their sleep at all? Tell us in the comments!