Children's Lack of Sleep: A Modern-Day Concern
Mon, April 19, 2021

Children's Lack of Sleep: A Modern-Day Concern

The increasing number of children who are suffering from lack of sleep is due to the excessive use of digital devices and a near addiction to social media. / Photo by: Anutr Yossundara via 123rf

 

The number of children who are suffering from lack of sleep is alarmingly on the rise. It is said that this increase is due to the excessive use of digital devices and a near addiction to social media. These young people will check out their social media account even at night before bedtime. Parents know that having a good sleeping habit is an important thing for children. However, the parents’ busy schedules and the child’s after-school and extracurricular activities may affect sleeping patterns significantly. 

According to the official website of Amerisleep, a company that sells mattresses online, American students were found to be the most sleep-deprived by a one-scale analysis of 50 countries as part of a research by the Boston College, and it affects their academic performance. The researchers also discovered that internationally, 47 percent of nine- to ten-year-olds weren’t having enough sleep as well. That number jumped to 73 percent among all US students. This number is partially attributed to parent’s busy schedules that cause them to overlook the fact that their children are not going to bed early or, even if they do, they are not really sleeping but instead are still busy checking their news feeds or playing mobile games.

Enough Sleep

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) presented a new study at their 2019 National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans where they discussed the issue of lack of sleep in today’s children, according to a report by Healthline, a website that is dedicated to making health and wellness information accessible. Hoi See Tsao, MD, a pediatrician in Boston, Massachusetts, called this situation “a serious public health problem among children.”

 It was also mentioned that 48 percent of kids who have enough sleep had a 44 percent higher likelihood of showing curiosity in learning new information and skills. These children were also 33 percent more likely to accomplish their homework and 28 percent more likely to care about their academic performance. 

Thus, the study proved that it is important to encourage kids to sleep at the right time and at an ideal length of time because oversleeping has its own set of negative consequences. Having enough sleep can increase healing, accelerate growth and development among children. It also gives them a more positive mood and better concentration the next day, which enables them to understand their lessons in school much easier. 

 

It is important to encourage kids to sleep at the right time and at an ideal length of time. / Photo by: lightfieldstudios via 123rf

 

Technology and Lack of Sleep

Smartphones, tablets, computers, and other gadgets have become such a ubiquitous thing in our lives. This is why it is hard to put them down even at bedtime because we are thinking there could be a new message that is coming in or a new post that we need to see before we sleep. As a result, sleep is pushed back further. And even when we do put our gadget down and go to sleep, there could still be some lingering effect of the device on our sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation, a non-profit, charitable organization, said on their website that the blue light emitted from screens can hinder the human body’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for controlling a person’s sleep and wake cycle or circadian rhythm.

When you’re surfing the internet, playing video games, or watching movies right before bedtime can disrupt melatonin production, resulting in a night of fitful sleep. and you’ll end up feeling tired in the morning instead of relaxed and rested. The effect can be much worse in children, whose brains and biological systems are still in the process of developing.

 

The National Sleep Foundation said that the blue light emitted from screens of their devices can hinder the human body’s production of melatonin. / Photo by: dimaberkut via 123rf

 

Developing Healthy Sleeping Habits

Parents may have a very hectic schedule, but they must always see to it that their children are having a quiet and comfortable sleep. Verywell Family, a website providing health and wellness information by health professionals, suggested that parents should stick to a routine at night to instill good sleeping habits in their kids. It starts with setting the time when they need to go to bed and they must adhere to it no matter what. This means making sure all activities and chores are done way before bedtime. 

A good night’s sleep requires keeping their room comfortable. Make sure that the room is not too hot, not too cold or stuffy or too bright. Ask your child how they want to keep their room, especially if they are dealing with a fear of the dark. The bedroom must be quiet, and cool, and with minimal light, which is optimal for a good night’s rest. 

Aside from this, make sure that your child doesn’t have a dose of caffeine in their dinner. The substance can hide in foods and drinks such as chocolate, bottled tea, and even some non-cola sodas. It is better to give them fruit when they crave for sweets close to bedtime. 

Even though parents have a lot of things on their plate, they must learn how to set some time aside during bedtime not only to ensure that their kids sleep on schedule but also to bond with them with some storytelling or just plain talking about their day.