Calls for sleep education for children
Children should be taught the importance of a good night's sleep in school, health experts have claimed. The comments follow a survey which shows 60 per cent of people believe sleep education should even be included in the national curriculum. Jessica Alexander, of The Sleep Council, said the lack of education about sleep and the factors critical to achieving the necessary quantity and quality "must be addressed in schools as well as the home if today's youngsters are to take the subject seriously".
Of those parents surveyed, two thirds claimed they worried about the amount or quality of sleep their children got. Ninety-six per cent said they appreciated that a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can be damaging to the health and wellbeing of children. Worryingly though, 67 per cent of the respondents said they had never been advised about the importance of a good night's sleep by a GP, health visitor, midwife, teacher, specialist consultant or university lecturer.
Of those who had been advised, only six per cent had received the information by a teacher. "Sleep is a basic and fundamental human requirement and is vitally important for good physical, mental and emotional health," said independent sleep consultant Dr Neil Stanley. "It's crucial for memory, learning and growth which means that it is necessary for children to get enough sleep. The government's Change 4 Life programme does not mention sleep, either, let alone it getting taught in school."
Dr Chris Idzikowski, from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, added: "Our education system must take this subject on board in a serious and structured way. "We teach children about nutrition and ensure regular exercise is part of their weekly activities but the third critical ingredient of a healthy lifestyle – sleep – is barely touched upon." Health experts warn poor sleep habits from an early age can lead to long-term sleep problems.
Lack of sleep is also directly linked to obesity, heart disease, mental illnesses and other life-threatening conditions in later life.info from British.Com Friday 23/10/