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iPads, caffeinated drinks blamed for 90% school children not getting enough sleep

A new report reveals 90 per cent of children aren’t getting the rest they need, with experts chalking this down to their consumption of fizzy…

A new report reveals 90 per cent of children aren’t getting the rest they need, with experts chalking this down to their consumption of fizzy drinks, tea and coffee.
And while it’s good to encourage reading, an e-reader or an iPad can actually keep children awake for longer, as light from the device interferes with sleep patterns.  
The U.S. study also said that a regular bedtime routine helps children get their sleep.
They recommended at least nine hours for children aged six to 11 years and at least eight hours for ages 12 to 17, but found most weren’t getting this.
In fact, 90 per cent of children don’t get the rest they need, researchers found.
Dr Anne-Marie Chang, of Penn State University and co-author of the study, said: ‘We have demonstrated the negative effect that use of light-emitting technology before bedtime can have on sleep.
‘Now we see how parental rules and routines regarding technology can influence the quantity and quality of their children’s sleep.
‘We have shown that reading on an iPad before bedtime, compared to reading a print book, can impair sleep, delay circadian timing, and degrade alertness the following morning.’
Previous research has found the blue glow emitted by the electronic devices can destroy the body’s natural rhythm.
All living things have an internal mechanism – known as the circadian rhythm, or body clock – which synchronises bodily functions to the 24-hour pattern of the Earth’s rotation.
‘Bright light from kindles andiIpads keep us awake’
Snuggling up with a good book in bed has long been seen as a way to wind down at the end of the day.
But scientists have discovered that the millions who read their bedtime stories on an iPad or a Kindle Fire are actually keeping themselves awake.
The blue glow emitted by the electronic devices can destroy the body’s natural rhythm.
All living things have an internal mechanism – known as the circadian rhythm, or body clock – which synchronises bodily functions to the 24-hour pattern of the Earth’s rotation.
The clock is regulated by the senses, most importantly, the way the eye perceives light and dark.
This mechanism rules our daily rhythms, including sleep and waking patterns and metabolism.
A study published last year found people reading on screens were less sleepy in the evening and took longer to fall asleep.
They had reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone which plays a role in inducing sleepiness.
And they took nearly ten minutes longer to fall asleep after reading an e-reader compared to reading a printed book.
The clock is regulated by the senses, most importantly, the way the eye perceives light and dark.
This mechanism rules our daily rhythms, including sleep and waking patterns and metabolism.
A study published last year found people reading on screens were less sleepy in the evening and took longer to fall asleep.
They had reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone which plays a role in inducing sleepiness.
And they took nearly ten minutes longer to fall asleep after reading an e-reader compared to reading a printed book.
They also had a lower amount of rapid eye movement sleep – a stage thought to be crucial because it is when memories are consolidated.
In today’s study, a total of 1,103 parents or guardians with an average age of 42 completed an online survey.
According to the researchers, although the majority of parents endorsed the importance of sleep, 90 per cent of children did not sleep the full amount of time recommended for their age group.
Poor sleep among children and adolescents can lead to behavioural problems and impaired learning and performance at school.
It can also lead to sports injuries, mood swongs, problems regulating emotions, and a worsening of obesity, researchers said.
Evidence also indicates that in adolescence, lack of sleep may be related to high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse, suicidal behaviours and drowsy driving.
Significant predictors of how long the child slept for included it’s parent’s education, regular enforcement of rules about caffeine and whether children left technology on in their bedroom overnight.
The researchers said public health officials should focus on reducing the encroachment of technology and media into sleep time.  
Other reasons for poor sleep found were complicated and busy daily schedules with competing work, school, social, and recreational activities.
Neighbourhood noise from traffic, commercial or industrial activity also kept children awake.
Within the family dynamic, a consistent bedtime routine improves sleep, whereas television use in the bedroom generally is associated with curtailed sleep.
Dr Orfeu Buxton, one of the study’s co-authors added: ‘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.’
The study was published in the journal Sleep Health.
Culled from Mail Online

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