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Children's Lack of Sleep Is a Hidden Health Crisis

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

children sleep crisis

Story at-a-glance -

  • In England, the number of children and teens aged 16 years and under admitted to a hospital due to a sleep disorder rose from about 6,500 in 2012-2013 to nearly 9,500 in 2017
  • Most of the admissions were due to sleep apnea, with 8,274 admissions alone in 2017-2018
  • Obesity in children could be playing a role in sleep apnea, as it puts extra stress on the upper airway, which can cause it to collapse, leading to sleep apnea
  • High school students who sleep six hours or less each night are twice as likely to engage in risky behaviors as those who sleep for eight hours (and only 30 percent of the students in the study averaged eight hours of sleep a night)
  • Among high schoolers, sleeping less than six hours a night was also linked to a threefold increased risk of considering or attempting suicide

By Dr. Mercola

It’s recommended that school-age children get nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, while teens need eight to 10. Preschoolers and toddlers need even more to function optimally — ranging from 10 to 14 hours a night. But many kids are falling short on fulfilling this basic need, putting their physical and mental health at risk.


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