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a little girl stares sleepily at a digital device at night time

Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep, Experts Say

How much sleep is your child getting each night?

According to new research, only 48% of children in the United States are getting enough sleep. Those that do get enough sleep show more signs of childhood flourishing and tend to show a much more positive outlook towards school.

Chronic Sleep Loss in Children Becoming a Public Health Problem

The study “Sounding the Alarm on the Importance of Sleep: The Positive Impact of Sufficient Sleep on Childhood Flourishing” was presented at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Childhood flourishing is a measure of social and behavioral well-being.

“Chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children,” said author Hoi See Tsao, MD, FAAP. “Insufficient sleep among adolescents, for example, is associated with physical and mental health consequences including increased risk of depression and obesity and negative effects on mood, attention and academic performance.”

“As healthcare providers, we want every child to reach his or her full potential,” he continued. “Our research shows that children who get enough sleep are more likely to demonstrate measures of childhood flourishing in comparison to children with insufficient sleep.”

Positive Effects Shown in Children Who Get Adequate Sleep

In the study, it was found that the 47.6% of the 6-17 year old children who were able to get sufficient sleep were more positively associated with several individual flourishing markers.

These children, who got at least 9 hours of sleep, were shown to have 44% increased odds of showing curiosity and interest in learning new things.

They also had 33% increased odds of doing homework as required, 28% increased odds of caring about how well they did in school and 12% increased odds of being able to demonstrate the combined flourishing measure.

The research also identified risk factors that resulted in insufficient sleep for children, including more access to digital media usage, having parents with lower levels of caregiver or parental education and living in families at lower federal poverty levels.

Dr. Tsao said that interventions put in place to help with bedtime routines, school start times, the length of the school day and focus on digital media could play an important role in helping children get enough sleep.

“Interventions like these may help children demonstrate more measures of childhood flourishing, enhance their development and give them brighter futures,” said Tsao.

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Maisie Peterson