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Children of the World Sleeping Less
February 13, 2018
A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.
-Chinese Proverb

"If Elise Hill is asleep by 10 pm, that counts as a success. Her parents have got used to the two-year-old going to bed at 10:30 pm, after three and a half hours of trying to get her to sleep. Elise will insist it can’t be bedtime, not yet. She’ll run away, hide, ask to watch TV. She’ll grab the iPad and start playing a game. Some nights, it takes a half-hour battle just to get her pyjamas on…But in the mornings she doesn’t want to get out of bed. Her mother, Jayne, leaves her to sleep as long as she can, before finally getting her up at 8:15 am. Elise is then rushed out of the house so Jayne can get her to nursery before she’s late for work." So begins an article in The Guardian.

"Across the world, children are sleeping less," asserts the article’s author, Jenny Kleeman. "It's not just young children like Elise who can’t switch off: from toddlers to teens, bedtimes are getting later and average sleep duration is falling...

"There are a number of reasons for this, chief among them our increasing dependence on technology, a more child-centred style of parenting, poor diet and the example set by an older generation, who work longer hours, come home later, and constantly check their phones...

Kleeman reports that sleep specialist, Dr. Heather Elphick, "suspects many children are being misdiagnosed with ADHD when they are simply not sleeping properly. 'Sleep deprivation can lead to behaviours which mimic ADHD. In some cases we can intervene, improve their sleep and avoid that diagnosis,' [Elphick] says. 'Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to mental illness – particularly in adolescents, where it can lead to depression.'"

Source: "I'll go to school on two and a half hours' sleep': why British children aren't sleeping" by Jenny Kleeman, The Guardian, March 2017

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