A neat little study/survey looking at children aged 6-10 years old was published recently in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care that gives some interesting numbers on how caffeinated beverages and TV, computers, or phones in the bedroom affects your child’s sleep.
The authors did a secondary analysis on the children from the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll and looked at the relationship between caffeine and technology use while adjusting for things like age, race, gender and overall health.
The results? Here’s what was the most surprising:
- Children slept an average of 9.5 hours each night (recommended is 10-11 hours).
- 22% of kids complained of daytime tiredness.
- 47% of kids had a TV in their room.
- A whopping 30% of kids had a caffeinated beverage daily.
- Kids who drank caffeinated drinks got 15 minutes less of sleep each night AND had a higher BMI.
And for those of you who are smugly noting how they never exposed their child to the evils of caffeinated beverages, let me offer this one last gem:
Kids who slept with nightlights slept an average of 11 minutes less each night.
That comes out to 67 hours each year! Given the knowledge that lack of sleep has been associated with all sorts of badness in kids like asthma, obesity, mood disorders, and sass talk – I should be caring more about this. But quite honestly, I don’t. I’ve willingly suppressed my cognitive dissonance and will continue to let my daughter have her Princess Aurora nightlight in her room even though it probably is causing her to lose 67 hours of sleep each year. I really just don’t feel like putting up with the potential crying that would occur if I decided to take the nightlight away. Thinking of it from my daughter’s perspective, it would be like a random act of cruelty for no apparent reason. ”But sweetie, they had a decent sample size and they really did a good job of controlling for other variables! You just have to give up Aurora!” Uh huh. Not going to happen.
That’s why it’s so much easier to not give them the thing in the first place. Don’t make caffeinated drinks a regular occurrence or let them have a TV or computer or phone in their bedroom to begin with. Give them a New Kids on the Block poster. That’s what my parents gave me. It was better than any nightlight. And when the 90′s rolled around, there were no tears when I took down that poster, strung a rubber band around it, and handed it back to my parents. Simple. Clean. No tears whatsoever.