Children Still Don't Get Enough Sleep
February 14, 2012

Children Still Don’t Get Enough Sleep

A new study reveals that children are sleep deprived, and they have been for over 100 years.

The researchers compiled the data from studies going back to the 19th century and discovered experts have been concerned about the lack of sleep that children receive. Lisa Anne Matricciani of the University of South Australia in Adelaide and her colleagues wrote, “There is a common belief that children are not getting enough sleep and that children´s total sleep time has been declining.”

The study consisted of 218 articles where the children or their parents reported the amount of sleep they received. The researchers estimate that sleep duration fell 0.73 minutes per year for a total of 73 minutes of lost sleep over the last century, reports Reuters. While the recommended amount of sleep fell about 70 minutes.

They found 360 sleep recommendations over the years. In 83 percent of the cases children were falling short of the recommended ideal.

Researchers have blamed the lack of sleep on the new technologies of modern life. In the early 20th century artificial lighting, radio and cinema were to blame for decreased sleep times. While in the 1990´s experts were blaming video games, the internet and mobile phones.

Rafael Pelayo, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University Medical School told USA Today that the lack of sleep does bring health problems. It has the ability to bring injury to people, chronic health problems and even death. In children lack of sleep is believed to be one of the causes of the high obesity rate and has been associated with lower academic performance, injuries and accidents.

In order to avoid sleep deprivation the National Institutes of Health recommends that adults receive between eight and eight and a half hours of sleep nightly. Newborns should be sleeping 16 to 18 hours a day. Preschoolers should receive 11 to 12 hours of sleep while adolescents get 10 hours.

The study can be found in the journal Pediatrics.


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