Children who sleep in the same room as a smartphone get less sleep, go to bed later and experience a more restless night of sleep than children who do not have a phone in their room, according to a new study from UC Berkeley.
This is also true for children who have iPod touches, standard cell phones or other devices the research labels as “small screens.”
The children in the study who had small screens in their rooms went to bed an average of 37 minutes later than the children without small screens. They got nearly 21 minutes less of sleep, and most of them experienced fatigue in the morning.
To put matters into perspective, the study also assessed children who slept with TVs in their rooms. Those kids went to bed 31 minutes later than those without a television, and got 18 minutes less sleep. Simply put, smartphones are worse to have in a child’s room than a television.
The university’s study assessed over 2,000 fourth and seventh grade students, 54% of whom said they slept near a smartphone.
“Small screens are especially concerning because they are a portal to social media, videos and other distractions, and they emit notifications that can disrupt sleep,” said Dr. Jennifer Falbe, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Berkeley who headed the study. “Parents should keep screen media out of bedrooms, limit screen time, and set a curfew of an hour before bedtime.”