Effortful Control Moderates the Relation Between Electronic-Media Use and Objective Sleep Indicators in Childhood
Electronic-media use is associated with sleep disruptions in childhood and adolescence, although research relies primarily on subjective sleep. Effortful control, a dimension of self-regulation, may mitigate this association by helping children disengage from and regulate responses to media. We examined associations between media use and multiple actigraph-measured sleep parameters at mean and day levels and tested children’s effortful control as a moderator of mean-level relations. We collected actigraph data and parents’ diary reports of children’s prebedtime television, video-game, laptop, desktop, cell-phone, and tablet use in 547 twin children (7–9 years old; 51.74% female). Mean-level media use was associated with bedtime and sleep duration. For the proportion of nights on which twins used media, but not the average number of media types, effortful control attenuated associations between media use and reduced sleep duration and efficiency. Day-level media use was related only to bedtime. Findings replicate and extend existing research and highlight self-regulation as a potential protective factor.