Nodding off or switching off? The use of popular media as a sleep aid in secondary-school children

J Paediatr Child Health. 2006 Jul-Aug;42(7-8):428-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2006.00892.x.


Aim: To describe the use of media as a sleep aid in adolescents and relate this to their sleep routines and feelings of tiredness.

Methods: A questionnaire about using media as a sleep aid, media presence in bedrooms, time to bed and time out of bed on average weekdays and average weekend days, and questions regarding level of tiredness in the morning, at school, after a day at school and after the weekend was completed by 2546 seventh and 10th grade children in a random sample of 15 schools.

Results: Of the adolescents, 36.7% reported watching television to help them fall asleep. In total, 28.2% of the boys and 14.7% of the girls used computer games as a sleep aid. Music was used to fall asleep by 60.2% of the adolescents in this sample. About half of the adolescents read books to fall asleep. Except for reading books, using media as a sleep aid is negatively related to respondents' time to bed on weekdays, their number of hours of sleep per week and their self-reported level of tiredness.

Conclusion: Using media as a sleep aid appears to be common practice among adolescents. Those who reported using music, television, and computer games more often as a sleeping aid slept fewer hours and were significantly more tired.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Belgium
  • Computers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Sleep*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television*