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Violent TV can interfere with a child's sleep

A preschooler watching violent cartoons on television. Note:

A preschooler watching violent cartoons on television. Note: The screen image is my own creation projected through the TV. For Health and Science Section/ Marjorie Robins. iStock Credit: ISTOCK PHOTO

Here's another reason to peel children away from all that electronic stimuli: A new study shows that watching violent programming can mess up a kid's sleep.

The Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute found that preschoolers who viewed age-inappropriate movies, television or online content an hour before their bedtime had more nightmares, experienced difficulty going to sleep and had trouble staying asleep than those who did not.

The study followed 600 3- to 5-year-olds.

"Making a relatively simple change in what kids are watching is a change worth the effort," said Michelle Garrison, a principal investigator for the study, tells HealthDay. "Sometimes parents feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting rid of TV altogether, but switching shows can make a big difference."

One show that parents may want to consider banning, at least before bedtime, is "SpongeBob SquarePants," Garrison goes on to say. She recommends "Sesame Street," "Dora the Explorer" and "Curious George" as alternatives.

The study will appear in the journal Pediatrics and can be viewed online here.

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