More than two hours of screen time per day leads to sleep deprivation among children
This observation is the result of a study led by UIC Barcelona, which has analysed the relationship between screen time and sleep duration among children
One in four Spanish children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen get less sleep than the ideal number of hours recommended by specialists, according to a study led by Dr José M. Martínez Sánchez, Dr Cristina Lidón-Moyano and Àurea Cartanyà-Hueso, members of the Research Group on the Evaluation of Health Determinants and Healthcare Policies at UIC Barcelona.
The study titled “Association of screen time and sleep duration among Spanish 1-14 years old children” is the first of its kind conducted on a representative sample of the Spanish population and has been published recently in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. The team of researchers have published this report in the face of a considerable increase in screen usage over the last decade, and the scientific opinion that this could have negative consequences on aspects such as sleep.
After analysing more than 5,500 children between the ages of 1 and 14, the data indicate that 44.3% of children spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen during their free time and of these, 23.6% don’t get the recommended hours of sleep. An increasing percentage of children are using screens for three hours a day as they get older. In this vein, Àurea Cartanyà-Hueso, the study’s primary author, explains that "the age group that uses screens most is between 12 and 14 years old, followed by 6 to 11 year olds, although these figures do decrease when the family has access to more training and resources".
The researchers also show that a lack of sleep is directly related to an increased risk of obesity and poor emotional stability, quality of life and academic performance.