Smartphone use may cause sleeping issues in infants and toddlers, a recent study conducted by experts from London and Birkbeck, UK, has shown. Cheung, C. H. M. et al claim that their study — published by the Nature Research journal earlier this month — is the first one that reliable links sleeping issues in young children with their daily use of portable touchscreen devices, primarily smartphones and tablets.
The findings of the research were based on online interviews of 715 parents in the UK that answered questions regarding their children’s use of media devices and sleeping habits. Interviewees were asked to disclose how long their children sleep on a daily basis, in addition to being asked to estimate their children’s sleep onset, i.e. the time they take to completely fall asleep. While children who used smartphones and tablets more than their peers didn’t experience a higher number of night awakenings, researchers still came to some possibly troubling conclusions. On average, every single hour of daily touchscreen use equaled 15.6 minutes of less sleep, the study found, implying that not even children who had the habit of sleeping over the day were getting enough sleep if they used touchscreen devices excessively. The study only encompassed parents of children aged at between six months and three years, and for one reason or another, it revealed that children who use smartphones and tablets more than their peers actually sleep more during the day and less during the night, noting that each hour of touchscreen use actually results in 10.8 more minutes of daytime sleep and 26.4 minutes of less nighttime sleep.
Despite the results outlined above, researchers were unable to associate sleep fragmentation with the use of smartphones and tablets. However, the two might still be linked, but authors of the research believe a larger study is necessary to prove or disprove that possibility. Follow the source link below for more details on the methodology and the finding of the study that’s available in its entirety free of charge, courtesy of Nature Research. Likewise, refer to the image beneath this writing to see a visual representation of the study’s main findings.