Children watching non-violent, age appropriate content on TV have fewer sleep-related problems, a new study reports.

Violence on media has been linked to children becoming aggressive and developing behavioral problems. Previous studies have shown that kids who watch a lot of television suffer from health complication later in life and tend to have a lower self-esteem. The present study looked at how content on TV affected kids' sleep.

The present study included approximately 565 preschoolers, 40 percent of whom had sleep-related problems. Researchers wanted to know whether their TV watching habits were interfering with their sleep.

“We really saw a significant and sustained impact in children’s sleep. For me, the findings are exciting because it means we’re really on the right track focusing on media, and it really is worth targeting and focusing on," Michelle Garrison, PhD, from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, lead author of the study.

Half of the families participating in the study received recommendations on changing their child’s TV watching habits. Parents were encouraged to use resources that could help them monitor TV shows ratings and decide what shows and movies were appropriate for their child's age. The other half of the study group acted as a control and was given information on nutrition.

Kids were allowed to watch as many hours of TV as they were watching before the study, only the content was changed from violent to age-appropriate.

Researchers found that the content on TV had a direct impact on children's sleep-related problems. The study showed that letting children watch shows that are pro-social and appropriate for their age could lower these problems.

“This tells us that the healthy media intervention was protective, meaning that kids were less likely to even develop sleep problems. These are worthwhile changes both for families already struggling and families who want to prevent sleep problems from happening to their kids down the road," said Dr. Garrison.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.