Two thirds of UK children not getting enough sleep

A survey carried out by Travelodge has found that almost half of children in the UK do not follow a regular bedtime routine, and that almost 74% are getting less sleep than the minimum recommended for adults.

Children aren't getting enough sleep

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 23rd April 2012

The Travelodge Child Sleep Study was based on the sleep patterns of 2000 children between the ages of six and 15.  Their findings revealed that the average child does not go to bed until 11.20pm.  Their research also indicated that ‘chronic levels of sleep deprivation’ are affecting learning and development.  79% of the children involved in the study found it difficult to concentrate in school, with 82% suffering from daytime tiredness.  26% said they had fallen asleep in class.

Importance of a good night’s sleep

Dr Pat Spungin, child psychologist and family life specialist, said: “I agree there is very little information available to parents about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Parents should be concerned about the effects of sleep deprivation on their children, as lack of sleep has a negative effect on a child’s mood, concentration and attention. Research also shows that children who are sleep deprived do less well academically, show more problem behaviour and have lower levels of social skills. Scientific evidence shows that adequate night-time sleep is just as important as healthy eating and regular exercise for children to develop. With lack of sleep linked to poor academic performance, behavioural problems including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obesity, these research findings are alarming.”

Recommendations and guidelines

Travelodge and the experts they consulted offer the following guidelines for sleep:

2 to 3 years should have 10.5 to 12.5 hours sleep
4 to 5 years should have 12 hours sleep
6 years should have 11.5 hours sleep
7 to 11 years should have 9.5 to 11.5 hours sleep

1. Establish a regular time for bed each night and do not vary from it
2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, give your child a warm bath or shower
3. Make bedtime fun – read your child a story
4. Do not give your child any food or drinks with caffeine prior to bedtime
5. Avoid giving your child a large meal before bedtime
6. Make after dinner playtime a relaxing time as too much activity close to bedtime can keep children awake
7. Exercise should be included in your child’s day to help them sleep well
8. There should be no TV or music playing while your child is going to sleep
9. Ensure the temperature in the bedroom is comfortable
10. Make sure the noise level in the house is low

Source: Travelodge, Sleep deprivation epidemic hits children, 13th March 2012

Photography: Woodleywonderworks@ Flickr

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