Study Aims and Objectives
To understand whether electronic media at bedtime relates to sleep in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Methods - Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
Parents of 101 children with ASD completed questionnaires assessing their children’s sleep habits, bedroom media access (including television, video game devices, and computers) and patterns of use.
Results – Main Findings
Children with ASD who used media as part of their bedtime routine had more trouble falling asleep. Children who were exposed to violent content on TV or in videogames within 30 minutes before bed had more trouble falling asleep and did not get as much sleep as those who were not exposed. Simply having a television, gaming system, or computer in the bedroom was not associated with sleep problems.
Conclusion – Summary Statement
The use of television and video games as part of a bedtime routine is associated with trouble falling asleep for children with ASD. Additionally, viewing violent content before bed is related to poor sleep. It is recommended that families of children with ASD limit the timing and content of nighttime television and video game use, whether the devices are in a child’s bedroom or not.