Children's sleep is a cause for concern

By Lise Birk Kristensen

Sleep plays an important role in cognitive function, growth and central nervous system development, and problems with sleep can have health consequences for children and adolescents.

A report by researchers from the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, examines the sleep of children and adolescents and its findings have raised concerns among experts. Read more about the report here (It's in Danish!).

The report's results show clear gender differences in the prevalence of sleep comments, with more girls than boys receiving a sleep comment. At the same time, close to one in four young people of secondary school age have a sleep pattern that raises concern among healthcare professionals.

According to the Danish Health Authority's guidelines on children's sleep needs, children and adolescents between the ages of 13-18 should get between 8-10 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, research over the past 30 years shows that the proportion of people who have difficulty falling asleep on a weekly basis has increased and that sleep problems among children and adolescents are common.

Sleep problems among children and adolescents are complex and can have many causes, but the report's findings point to digital media in particular causing children and adolescents to go to bed later, sleep for shorter periods of time, and wake up early in the morning.

The results of the study call for solutions to address the negative developments in children and young people's sleep and sleep habits.