It seems that a bedtime story is not the only thing that can help your child get a good night’s sleep, as wholesome television shows may also do the trick, according to a recent study conducted by the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Building on the premise that media seen by children during the day affect them even as you tuck them in at night, the Seattle team invited families with kids between ages three and five to participate in the study. The kids were then separated into two groups. Parents of one group were to substitute what their children normally watch with wholesome shows like Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street, while parents of the other group were only sent mailers of healthy eating information and weren't given any viewing recommendations.

Changes in sleeping patterns began to occur after six months. Before the start of the study, 42 percent of the children who participated had sleeping problems, but this fell to 30 percent in the first group after shifting to healthy television. On the other hand, the other group did not demonstrate any significant developments, as there was only a three percent improvement in the participants' sleeping habits. Age-appropriate shows, it seems, help pre-schoolers quickly fall asleep and experience fewer nightmares.

"One of the things that's exciting for me is that if families want to make these changes, it doesn't require going to the doctor's office or going to a person's home," according to the study lead author, Michelle Garrison.

Ensuring that kids get to sleep soundly is a top concern for every parent. So the next time you review your kids' TV habits, you might want to add more space for wholesome shows to help them snooze their way to sweeter dreams.

(Photo by corebasis via Flickr Creative Commons)

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