Children’s sleep severely affected by impact of coronavirus, say experts
The coronavirus crisis is having a significant impact on children’s sleep, with anxiety and lack of routine causing serious disruption, experts and charities have warned.
The Millpond sleep clinic, in London, says there has been a 30% rise in sleep inquiries from parents about children aged five to 13 compared with the same period in 2018-19. A common issue is that children are going to bed later and sleeping in more.
“At the moment we are very busy,” the clinic’s founder Mandy Gurney said. “We have definitely seen a spike in six- to eight-year-old children with anxiety impacting their sleep. And for younger ones who are not seeing other babies in parenting groups – I think it will be hard when they start to go out more”.
She added: “Parents are also finding it hard to keep older children’s or teenagers sleep’ on track, as the temptation to lie in is very strong when there is no school to get up for.”
A survey of 2,700 people in April gave the early warning sign about the long-term negative impact coronavirus is having on children’s sleep.
It supports a newly published paper from the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry that suggests the potential for sleep problems to emerge or worsen during and following the pandemic is high.
The survey found that 70% of children under 16 are going to bed later – but are also waking later (57%). It found children were becoming more heavily reliant on technology with nearly three quarters (74%) of parents reporting that their children are using electronic devices more during the coronavirus lockdown.
Feature from The Guardian.com lifestyle 17th July 2020 Sarah Marsh