Daily Mail

Six in ten chil­dren don’t get enough sleep

- Daily Mail Re­porter Health · Health Tips · Child Health · Lifestyle · Healthy Living · Family · Parenting

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.’

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