Screens and Sleep: Are Interactive Screen Activities Associated with Short and Inefficient Sleep?
CPS ePoster Library. Irving R. Jun 22, 2016; 128150; 80 Disclosure(s): This study was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and American Sleep Medicine Foundation grants to Reut Gruber.
Robyn Irving
Robyn Irving
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Background: Although sleep is essential for healthy development, school-aged children are not getting the recommended number of hours of sleep each night. There is evidence that screen-based activity use is associated with shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality in pediatric populations. Findings also suggest that using more interactive activities, such as video games, might be associated with shorter and less efficient sleep, when compared to more passive activities, such as watching television. Few studies have examined this connection in school-aged children and none have employed objective measurements of sleep.

Objectives: The aim of the present study was to assess the associations between devices that are different in their level of interactivity with quantity and quality of sleep. We hypothesized that more interactive screen activities will explain more of the variability in sleep efficiency and sleep duration compared to less interactive activities.

Methods: Participants included 78 school-aged children (M = 8.57, SD = 1.81). Sleep was assessed objectively using actigraphy, a non-invasive device worn to examine sleep-wake patterns by measuring movement. Variables of interest included sleep duration and sleep efficiency. Time spent engaging in screen time activities was assessed via parental reports on the Children's Leisure Activities Study Survey. Screen activities included time spent watching television/videos, playing video games, and using the computer.

Result: Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to determine possible associations between screen activities and sleep variables. In the first analysis, longer time spent on computer use and playing video gameswas negatively associated with sleep duration (b = -0.04, p < .01; b = -0.05, p < .01, respectively) and the full model explained 24% of the variance. In a second analysis, using the computer was negatively associated with sleep efficiency (b = -0.01, p < .05) and the full model explained 14% of the variance.

Conclusion: The current study found that interactive screen activities, including video games playing and computer use, but not watching television, were associated with significantly shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep efficiency. These findings support previous research in school-aged children that suggests video games and other interactive activities are associated with short and inefficient sleep.
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