Lack of sleep

I found an interesting article the other day about the lack of sleep in children and how it is affecting their mood, their behaviour and their academic ability at school - with a growing number of children suffering from lack of sleep. A doctor from the Sleep Disorders Clinic at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney believes electronic media and mobile phone use take much of the blame.

Until my sons hit their teens, sleeping was never a problem - they went to bed at set times, were allow to read for awhile or listen to audio tapes (stories) then off to sleep.  This all changed when they became teenagers - 14 onwards.  Now at 22, Tristan (my eldest) has very poor sleep patterns - often struggling to get to sleep (he has been known to hop in his car and go for a drive - which I don't like him doing) - he has tried different herbal teas with mixed results.  He wakes up early so he may only get 6 hours sleep per night.  It will be interesting to see if this poor pattern of sleep continues in his adult life. He says he isn't tired - but he certainly is cranky and grumpy some mornings and he often has an afternoon sleep which tells me he isn't getting enough sleep (or his afternoon naps are causing some of the problems).

However according to the article this is not uncommon in adolescents:  "For 20 per cent of adolescents the sleep saboteur is not so much electronic, but a glitch in their body clocks. It's a problem called delayed sleep phasing in which they have a circadian rhythm of 25 to 27 hours, instead of the typical 24 hours".

My other son (aged 17) falls into the texting category - according to the article (in the Sydney Morning Herald): “Texting is worse than talking on the phone because kids stay awake waiting for the next message. Although we don't have good figures on this in Australia, a study of 13-year-olds in the US that included checking mobile phone records, found that 45 per cent of them used their phones after 3am," he says, urging parents to be more assertive about keeping computers and TVs out of children's bedrooms, and making it a rule that mobiles stay on the kitchen bench until morning".  Tricky once they hit their late teens.

I, on the other hand - LOVE SLEEPING and have no problems falling a sleep - however I strongly dislike getting up in the morning:(

As a guide:
  • Preschoolers: 12 hours' sleep in a 24 -hour period.
  • Primary schoolchildren: nine -11 hours.
  • 12- to 17-year-olds: nine -10 hours.


  1. That's funny...I was just about to do a post on things you can do to fall asleep. My sons, 22 and 20, love to text and all that. As they are away in the military or at college, I can't control what they do! I can see where the texting would keep them awake waiting for the next text! When my boys were little, I had them on a schedule.


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