Limit screen time and caffeine for children at bedtime if you want them to get quality sleep and perform better in life, says a new study. Orfeu Buxton, associate professor at Pennsylvania State University said that, "Good quality and sufficient sleep are vital for children. Just like a healthy diet and exercise, sleep is critical for children to stay healthy, grow, learn, do well in school, and function at their best."
Buxton also said that reducing the encroachment of technology and media into sleep time and supporting well-known sleep hygiene principles should be a focus of public health intervention goals for sleep health.
The research team evaluated children aged six to 17 years old through internet-based interviews. About 1,103 parents or guardians of an average age of 42 completed surveys.
The study states that although the majority of parents endorsed the importance of sleep, more than 90% of kids did not sleep the full amount of time recommended for their age group. For children sleep deficiency was more likely, who had electronic devices on in the bedroom after bedtime.
"A consistent bedtime routine improves sleep, whereas television use in the bedroom is generally associated with curtailed sleep," the authors said.
Some of the primary consequences of poor sleep among children are:
1. Behavioural problems
2. Impaired learning
3. Problems with mood and emotional regulation
4. Health-related issues including obesity.
Experts also indicate that in adolescence, lack of sleep may be related to high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse, suicidal behaviour and drowsy driving.
Parents must follow at least nine hours of sleep for children ages six through 11 years and at least eight hours for children aged 12 to 17 years.
The results were published in the journal Sleep Health.