Social Media Use, Sleep and Obesity in Children
Sleep is vital to the biopsychosocial development of a child, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the following amounts per 24 hours [Paruthi et al., 2016]:
- Infants 4-12 months: 12 – 16 hrs (including naps)
- Children 1-2 years: 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
- Children 3 – 5 years: 10 – 13 hours
- Children 6 – 12 years: 9 – 12 hours
- Teenagers 13 – 18 years: 8 – 10 hours
Sleeping the number of recommended hours is associated with better health outcomes, including improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
However, a large systematic review of the literature covering 20 countries has shown that sleep duration has been consistently declining with children losing on average 1 hour of sleep per night over the last century. [Matricciani et al., 2012]
Read more about the neurobiology, pathophysiology, assessment and management of insomnia
- Insufficient sleep duration in children has consistently been shown to be negatively associated with cardiometabolic factors such as dietary habits, overweight status, and aerobic fitness. [Hitze et al., 2009], [Garaulet et al, 2011], [Tambalis et al, 2018].
- The association between insufficient sleep and behavioural problems in children is a mediator for attentional problems, conduct disorder [Holley et al., 2011], emotional lability [Nixon et al., 2008], and depressive symptoms. [Smaldone et al., 2007]
- Insufficient sleep in teenagers is associated with an increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts. [Paruthi et al., 2016]
Although screen-based media devices are reliable predictors of reduced sleep duration, up to 72% of children, have been reported to have a mobile media device (smartphones and tablets) in their sleeping environment. [Gradisar et al., 2011]