Help Preschoolers Sleep: Turn Off SpongeBob
'Sesame Street' and 'Dora the Explorer' are better bets
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 6, 2012 5:03 PM CDT
A YouTube screenshot from 'SpongeBob SquarePants.'   (YouTube)

(Newser) – If your preschooler can't sleep, it may be time to change the channel. A study published in today's Pediatrics says young kids sleep better when they avoid shows aimed at slightly older children, USA Today reports. Different programming brought "long-lasting, significant reductions in sleep problems," says lead researcher Michelle Garrison—even without any changes in the timing or quantity of viewing.

Researchers followed the media-watching and sleep habits of some 600 families with preschoolers in the Seattle area, then made suggestions for more appropriate viewing. Shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Scooby-Doo were considered bad news: "For a 3- or 4-year-old, it's too much and too overwhelming," says Garrison. Instead, she says, try Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer.