The Daily Telegraph

Social media anxiety leading to children losing precious sleep

- By Sarah Knapton SCIENCE EDITOR

PRE-TEENS are losing more than a night of sleep a week because a fear of missing out on social media is keeping them awake, researcher­s have found.

A study of 10- and 11-year-olds, showed that, on average, they were only sleeping 8.7 hours a night when they should be resting for between nine and 11 hours. When questioned about what was keeping them awake, the children said they were worried about missing out on what their friends were posting online and became anxious when they were disconnect­ed. The study of 60 youngsters from schools around Leicester by De Montfort University found that one in eight logged into sites in the middle of the night.

“It is quite terrifying when you think about the level of engagement that is happening,” Dr John Shaw told the British Science Festival in Leicester.

“Primary school children should be getting nine to 11 hours per night. Even if you get just one hour less it’s the equivalent of almost one night’s sleep lost a week. Sleep has an impact on cognitive and biological developmen­t.”

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