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December 2016

Problems Associated With Use of Mobile Devices in the Sleep Environment—Streaming Instead of Dreaming

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Departments of Medicine and Neurology and Sleep Health Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, Massachusetts
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(12):1146-1147. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2986

Children today have unprecedented access to technology and media, the use of which is no longer limited to waking hours now that mobile devices have invaded the bedroom. According to a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, half of school-age children in America have active, light-emitting electronic devices in their bedrooms.1 Parents estimate that more than two-thirds of older teens (15-17 years old) leave an electronic device on while sleeping at night, with 43% reading or sending electronic text messages after initially falling asleep. The parents of children who sometimes sleep with electronic devices switched on at night estimate that their children sleep almost 1 hour less than children who never do so. The systematic review and meta-analysis by Carter and colleagues2 in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics reveals that the mere presence of a mobile device in the sleeping environment at bedtime, and certainly its use, increases the risk of inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and—most important—excessive daytime sleepiness the next day in children 6 to 19 years old.

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