7-8 hours of sleep at night are mandatory and is a sign of good health. But when there is a stressful situation or a health issue, the first thing that happens is a sleep disorder.
In today’s world, almost all aspects of modern living such as long job hours, the pressure of work, long hours of travel and commuting, unbalanced and uneven meals have all the ingredients that are the beginning of a stressful life.
Sleep Problems In Children – An Overview!
Good and adequate sleep not only improves the quality of life but helps the brain to function better and more coherently. People with good sleep routines are healthier, sharper and more productive in all their activities. It is important to give the body rest when it needs sleep.
While we are sleeping, the brain prepares for the next day’s activity by literally manifesting conditions for learning and then remembering the information. Sleep restricted lifestyles often lead to fatigue and related health issues such as anxiety and premature ageing. This has also been proved medically where higher levels of inflammatory blood proteins were found in people with less than 6 hours of sleep.
There are several reasons for sleep deprivation. Unsuitable locations with lots of noise, crowded places to sleep, extremes of temperature, boredom, little activity, all contribute to having an adverse effect on peaceful sleep. The converse is also true.
There was a silent movie named ‘Pushpak Vimana where the lead actor Kamal Hassan used to live in a slum with lots of noise and he had got used to sleeping in the midst of the din and racket. Later fate takes him to the luxury of a five-star hotel and he spent a few sleepless nights in the deafening silence of an opulent hotel room. It was only after he played a recording of the racket in his older living quarters was he able to overcome his sleep deprivation.
Similar sleep problems affect children as well. They have their own problems. They are mostly related to stressful school work which seems to be getting harder and harder as schools believe this is the best way to prepare children for a string of competitive examinations for higher studies as well as jobs.
The other problem that causes sleep deprivation in children is the home environment. Divorces and separation are increasing at an alarming rate. The city of Mumbai alone had 11667 petitions for divorce in 2014, up more than double from 2010. The breakup of families can be disastrous for children and the first effect is sleep deprivation.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not been good for children either and the long periods of isolation, boredom, lack of play and outings and changed school routines have resulted in more mental trauma in children than adults. One of the first effects of boredom and isolation is disturbances in sleep routines.
There will be more stress for students when they return to normal lives after the pandemic is over. Memories of children start forming from the age of two and children who are presently 3 to 4 years old will have virtually no memory of life before the pandemic. They will have got used to isolation and staying at home and will need to be counselled to return to a normal social life which will be abnormal for them. In either situation, there is an adverse effect of sleep.
Several Ways To Tackle Sleep Deprivation
One way is to grab frequent naps to make up for lesser time for sleeping. There are many people who sleep while commuting long distances by train or bus. Their body clocks are so well-timed that they get up just before their deboarding station arrives and get off.
Many workplaces in the modern era recognise this need for sleep and have cosy nesting places where employees can get some sleep. New companies such as Facebook and Google have revolutionised the work culture by innovating the workplace. This has been perfected by research and using modern concepts of productivity enhancement in order to keep employees fresh, energetic and active.
Another main reason for sleep deprivation is electronic media and devices. Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, mobile games keep children up late at night.
The problem is genuine. A mere understanding of the problem and a genuine desire to rectify it can work miracles.
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