PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Only 48% of school-age children in the United States are getting enough sleep, according to new research. Most Americans probably aren’t getting enough sleep, but this research just covered children.
Part of the problem is electronics and school starting early, along with many teenagers just being on a different sleep schedule. Whatever the reason, though, doctors say it’s a problem.
Sarah-Jane Witchell makes sure her 6-year-old daughter gets plenty of sleep.
“She’s a complete nightmare and not cute [when she doesn’t],” Witchell said. “There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of back and forth.”
Witchell says they have a bedtime routine that helps.
“We read stories. We brush our teeth,” she said. “She knows too that if she doesn’t follow the routine, it’s no fun for her.”
A new study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference shows many kids need more rest.
Researchers surveyed parents of nearly 50,000 U.S. children ages 6 to 17 and found less than half are getting the recommended minimum of nine hours of sleep most weeknights.
“If a kid is getting enough sleep, then that kid has the opportunity to be better equipped for the day,” Dr. Ellen Rome, with the Cleveland Clinic, said. “That means stays on task in school, doesn’t melt down at the end of the day with mom and dad, is happier and is just flourishing.”
Many parents and kids are balancing crazy schedules these days from school and work to after school homework, sports and activities.
But doctors say everyone needs to make sleep a priority.
“Parents can set up systems so their kid is organized to have schedules that work,” Rome said. “Parents can also be careful not to overschedule.”
It’s also a good idea to have no electronics in the bedroom and no screentime before bed.
“We try to make sure our kids don’t look at their screens maybe an hour or so before going to bed,” parent Katelyn Sullivan said.
Sullivan says more sleep is a win for the whole family.
Younger children ages 3 to 5 need even more sleep — 10 to 13 hours per night, experts say.
Doctors say not getting enough sleep is linked to all sorts of issues, including depression, obesity, moodiness and poor academic performance. It also lowers the immune system, making people more likely to get sick.