When Did We Stop Thinking of Bedrooms as Places to Sleep?

bedroom deviceShould we make kids’ bedrooms better for sleeping?

I’ve just finished reading an October 2016 editorial in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, Problems Associated With Use of Mobile Devices in the Sleep Environment — Streaming Instead of Dreaming. The short piece describes the problems that digital devices, especially those that are mobile and easy to glance at or grab in the middle of the night, reflects on research published in the same issue of the journal. Unfortunately neither article is freely available; however, the links I’ve added offer a summary describing how the research was conducted and highlighting the findings.

The JAMA Pediatrics research article explains how the study asked the question, “Is there an association between screen-based media device access or use in the sleep environment and sleep quantity and quality?” Researchers conducted a meta-analysis (examining the results of many studies and combining the results) by searching through 20 previous studies, involving more than 125,000 children, that examined sleep patterns of children between 6 and 19 years old.                      

The researchers found: “There was a strong and consistent association between bedtime media device use and inadequate sleep quality.” (Read my post about association vs. causation.) While these results do not indicate that media devices cause poor quality sleep, they do indicate that before-bedtime device use, and perhaps any digital media use in the bedroom around bedtime may, because of inadequate sleep following the device use, lead to an array of health and social problems.

The fact is, we’ve lost track of the idea that bedrooms are for sleep. By making the bedroom a place that is primarily for sleep and non-digital activities parents can readily begin proactive steps to help their children avoid many potential problems and maintain digital wellness.

Read my post about how I’ve improved my sleep by moving digital devices farther away from the bed and reading only books just before bedtime.

Below I’ve listed a few articles that came out just after the journal published its article about the research.

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