Children with smartphones in bedrooms 'sleep less'

Considering letting your kid have a smartphone? Here is news that might make you think twice.

An American study on Monday reported that children who have access to tablets or smartphones in their bedrooms get less sleep than children who do not have the devices with them at night.

The findings in the Jan 5 edition of the journal Pediatrics show that having a so-called "small screen" within reach was slightly worse than a television set when it came to sleep deprivation in a group of 2,000 middle-school children.

Overall, those with access to smartphones and tablets had nearly 21 fewer minutes of sleep per night than children whose rooms were free of such technology, and they were more likely to say that they felt sleep deprived.

Those with a TV in the bedroom had 18 fewer minutes of slumber than kids who did not have one in their rooms.

"Presence of a small screen, but not a TV, in the sleep environment, and screen time were associated with perceived insufficient rest or sleep," reported the study led by Jennifer Falbe of the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

"These findings caution against unrestricted screen access in children's bedrooms."

Participants in the study included 2,048 fourth- and seventh-graders enrolled in the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study from 2012 to 2013.