According to research carried out by the Travelodge, the average time that children go to bed is now 11.20pm. The study revealed that almost all of the kids surveyed didn’t have a routine for bedtime and didn’t have to go to bed at a certain time. As a result, children are suffering from sleep and health related problems, including snoring, restless legs, behavioural problems and childhood obesity.
More than 2000 children who are aged six to 15 years took part in the study. Being deprived of sleep is affecting the children’s learning ability, with 79 percent unable to concentrate during school. Being tired during the school day was a problem for 82 percent, while more than a quarter of the children said they had fallen asleep at their desk on at least one occasion during the week.
Rather than enjoying a bedtime story, a number of children go to sleep while watching television or playing a computer game. The survey also revealed that some kids regularly stayed up till 3am playing on games consoles. Sleep issues have become prevalent among young children, with 77 percent suffering from sleep disorders like sleepwalking, nightmares and snoring. Worryingly, the research indicates that parents are not aware of the amount of sleep required by a child, believing that seven hours is adequate. Child psychologist Dr Pat Spungin said:
“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.”
There is a link between being deprived of sleep and childhood obesity, and also a link to the abuse of alcohol and drugs later in life which two thirds remained unaware of. A healthy diet, exercise and a regular bedtime with a good night’s sleep are crucial for a child’s development.