So who watched Channel 4’s Bedtime Live this week?
I watched it with avid interest – as someone who is involved in sleep but is also a parent of two young children.
I was particularly horrified with the 14 year old twin boys – Callum and Lewis – who only got three to six hours of sleep a night because they were addicted to gaming. And wasn’t it interesting to see how their memory and learning increased so significantly following a better bedtime routine, and a more deep, restful sleep?
There has been lots of research about how technology is impacting on sleep quality (and not just for children). The growth of computers, TVs, video games, social media, texting means we aren’t switching off properly before bed. Not only do they prevent you from falling asleep, but they may become disruptive at inopportune times and wake you back up. Also exposure to even the weakest glow at night – for example, your TV’s standby button or your mobile phone notification light – can unconsciously play havoc with your body’s circadian rhythms.
During the programme, there was a live poll which showed that 41% of parents felt their child/children didn’t get enough sleep – a sizeable number and one that does need to be addressed. Getting enough sleep allows children to react more quickly to situations, have a more developed memory, learn more effectively and solve problems.
Children don’t always understand the importance of sleep which is why it is particularly important for parents to a) know how much sleep their child should get and b) enforce an appropriate bedtime routine.
As a general rule of thumb:
– Toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep a night
– Children aged four to six – 10.5-11.5 hours
– Six-12 years olds – 10 hours
– Teenagers – around eight to nine hours.
The series runs for another five weeks, so do tune in – I know I will.