Six in ten children don’t get enough sleep
SIX in ten children get too little sleep – often because they are glued to TVs or tablet computers, research shows.
A survey also found that more than half of youngsters aged between two and 11 do not have a regular bedtime.
Digital overload and poor parenting have led to a crisis in sleeping habits, experts warn. Two thirds of children experience difficulty falling asleep – or suffer from problems such as sleep talking or walking – which can further diminish the quality of rest.
Four out of ten are allowed to watch TV or use a tablet in their bedroom, while a quarter are not read a bedtime story, the survey found. Researchers quizzed 2,064 adults who care for a child aged two to 11.
They found 57 per cent of children aged between two and four get less than their recommended 11.5 hours of sleep a night.
The problem is even more pronounced in those of primary school age, with around 65 per cent not getting their recommended hours. The NHS website advises those aged seven should sleep for 10.5 hours a night, while 11-year-olds need 9.5 hours.
Scientists claim that a lack of sleep can affect a child’s memory and academic per- formance. It has also been linked to obesity, a reduced immune system, bad moods and behavioural problems.
The survey found that for children who got little sleep, activities such as playing computer games and texting friends were often causing them to stay up late.
Other reasons for late bedtimes included parents returning home late, as well as youngsters having to complete homework.
Only 61 per cent of children aged between two and four had a regular bedtime routine, with this figure dropping to just 24 per cent for eight to 11-year-olds, the survey found.
For those that did stick to a routine, the most popular elements included a bath, story time or reading, a hot drink and a discussion about their day. But of those children who were read a bedtime story, one in five only had this once a week.
Sara Wadsworth of The Junior Fine Bedding Company, which carried out the survey, said: ‘Today’s busy lifestyles appear to be having a detrimental impact on the amount and quality of sleep that our children are getting, squeezing the time available for a regular bedtime and bedtime routine.
‘Over-stimulation from TVs and computer or tablet screens is further adding to the problem by reducing the child’s ability to get to sleep and also the quality of sleep they are then able to enjoy.’