Sleeplessness in kids on rise, doctors worried

Experts say that a majority of children who complain about sleeplessness are addicted to smartphones and television shows. Doctors say that it is only when children show visible signs of sleeplessness, that parents realise this is a problem

Sleeplessness in kids on rise, doctors worried

Sleeplessness seems to be a prevalent issue these days. While some say it is due to the fast paced life in cities, experts point out that sleeplessness among children is a very prominent problem and it is caused due to television and over usage of gadgets.

Experts say that a majority of children who complain about sleeplessness are addicted to smartphones and television shows. “Out of the 10 children that I see, at least two come in with an issue of phone or gadget addiction. These are primarily kids who stay up till 2am-3am at night and end up feeling drowsy the next day at school,” said Dr Avinash Desousa, Consulting Psychiatrist.

Dr Desousa further added that online competitions or certain games are becoming greater distractions, “things like Clash of clans, Game of Thrones, Candy Crush are keeping these kids hooked on to their screen.”

Doctors say that it is only when children show visible signs of sleeplessness, parents realise this is a problem. “The Internet creates a virtual world for kids. The lack of sleep becomes a visible problem when they perform poorly in academics or become aggressive or start getting irritated easily,” said Dr Parul Tank, a Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital.

Parenting becomes an important point of discussion in this case. “Sleeplessness is as prevalent in children today as it is in adults. Use of mobile phones is particularly very prominent in all age groups. There is a drastic change in the sleep pattern. Children sleep late and end up waking up late. All of this is a problem because it is culturally acceptable to use phones. When left alone, everyone ends up using their phones,” said Dr Vasant Mundra, Consulting Psychiatrist at Hinduja Hospital.

Parents need to be rather strict with kids say doctors in terms of gadget usage. “‘Digital-free hours’ at home should be mandatory,” said Dr Desousa.