The results of a study published in the September 2012 issue of Pediatrics indicate that parents may be able to positively affect a preschooler’s sleep patterns by making healthier and more educational choices in a child’s media diet.
The journal article, The Impact of a Healthy Media Use Intervention on Sleep in Preschool Children, examines whether healthy media interventions in the lives of preschool children can improve sleep patterns. Researchers at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute explain how they conducted a randomized controlled study to discover if the sleep of preschoolers might be improved when families were helped to replace inappropriate and sometimes violent media content with a healthier and more educational media diet. This article is freely available or read the abstract.
The study, which included 617 children and their families from the Seattle area, used two-phase sampling (defined below). In the first phase researchers selected the clinics in the Seattle metropolitan area, making selections that reflected Seattle’s demographic make-up and including providers that served Medicaid patients. In the next phase, researchers invited preschool patients (and their parents) from those clinics to take part in the study. Patients and who met the guidelines for inclusion and agreed to participate were then randomized into a control group (this group received usual pediatric care) and an interventional group (researchers suggested media changes to these participants).
At the beginning, a survey asked everyone about sleep habits, and the researchers classified into categories. Additional information about each child’s media exposure was collected at 6, 12, and 18 months. Of the 617 families who completed the initial sleep survey questionnaire, 565 completed at least one follow-up survey.