As the six-week holidays get underway, it can be tempting for parents to become more lenient with bedtime routines. From long lie-ins to late nights, many struggle to find ways to make the usual bedtime rituals stick.
With this in mind Bensons For Beds has released insightful survey results which reveal what’s keeping the UK’s children awake at night as well as highlighting the detrimental effects lack of sleep has on children – results that might just make parents think twice about relaxing the rules.
One in five children has difficulty getting to sleep at night. When asked to name the main culprits, 44% of UK parents blamed mobile phones for keeping their children awake at night, 26% blamed video games and 21% blamed television. It seems that screen-based activities are one of the key distractions for children at night time and with the summer holidays in full swing, these activities are certainly set to increase in frequency.
Even though electronic devices were a problem, other bedtime challenges were highlighted in the findings. Other distractions mentioned by parents included social media, fear of missing out, an inability to unwind, anxiety and worrying about school.
Whilst school may be far off the minds of children during the holidays, these other anxieties are bound to be heightened as the pressure to meet up with friends, post on social media and do more grows. Keeping a check on these worries is integral for parents to ensure their children can settle for a good night’s sleep.
The survey reveals that 54% of parents believe lack of sleep causes their child to be more argumentative, 30% notice a detrimental change in concentration levels and 16% notice a change in behaviour. Other effects included arguing with family (30%), being naughty (28%), being sleepy at school (25%) and eating more junk food (14%).
So how can parents help to get their kids’ sleep back on track and improve their behaviour at the same time? When asked for tips for a good night’s sleep for their children, parents suggested having a device-free period before bed to reduce screen time, getting plenty of exercise, sticking to a regular routine, avoiding sweets and sugar foods, reading, and having dedicated quiet time every evening.
While this may be difficult, it means that if they want a more peaceful environment this summer, keeping the bedtime routine in check that provides sufficient sleep may be just what parents need to concentrate on during these six weeks.
Overall, the survey revealed that:
- Two-thirds of children got between eight and ten hours of sleep a night and 81% had no difficulty falling asleep, though 42% fell asleep during the day.
- Parents said that 91% of children had a set time for going to bed, typically between 8pm and 10pm.
- A third of children had a set routine, including dinner, bath time, cleaning their teeth and having a bedtime story
Bensons’ sleep expert, Dr Sophie Bostock said: ‘Is your child unusually irritable? Are they having difficulty concentrating? For children, not getting enough sleep is associated with attention, learning and behaviour problems. Getting the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis can help protect against infections and accidents, improve emotion regulation and support their mental health.’
A healthy approach to sleep is a healthy approach to fun this summer and will help keep the whole family rested and on top form. Avoid irritability and family arguments by ensuring children have the right amount of sleep these summer holidays to help make memories that will last a lifetime.