Study Says Age-Inappropriate Media Content Affects Preschoolers’ Sleep

By Julie Rasicot — August 08, 2012 1 min read
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Tempted to let your preschooler stay up to watch a Harry Potter movie? Or spend a Saturday morning watching Bugs Bunny cartoons?

Better think again, concludes a study that found that replacing age-inappropriate television shows, movies and other media content with that more suited to younger kids helped reduced sleep problems.

Researchers at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute learned that, over a period of 12 months, kids with sleep problems improved and suffered from less daytime tiredness when they were exposed to content more suitable to their ages, according to published news reports.

Researchers said that includes getting rid of shows like Bugs Bunny, which may not seem detrimental for preschoolers, but actually contains violence that is more suitable for older children, and cutting out all screen time during the evening.

“Content that’s funny for older kids can be too violent for really young children,” study author Michelle Garrison told ABC-News. “We really don’t want them exposed to any violence at all.”

The study followed about 600 kids, ages 3 to 5, whose parents kept diaries of their sleeping habits, including how long it took them to fall asleep, daytime tiredness, and nightmares. It’s part of a “randomized trial that aims to see what effect changing types of media content has on sleep in preschoolers,” according to

A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.