Children in Cambridge are missing out on vital shuteye – and it means they cant concentrate properly in the classroom.
The worrying trend has been highlighted in a survey of youngsters sleeping habits.
On average, children in the city are tucked up in bed for eight hours every night – three hours less than the 11 hours that experts recommend they get if theyre to grow properly and do well at school.
Overall, theyre missing out on 570 hours of sleep a year.
The study, by hotel chain Travelodge, found that three out of four local children are finding it difficult to concentrate at school as a result of not getting enough sleep.
Seven out of ten children in Cambridge also go to sleep with either a mobile phone or a tablet nearby, the survey discovered.
The sleep study surveyed 1,500 children aged between 8 and 15.
A spokeswoman said: “Key findings revealed 45 per cent of children in Cambridge dont follow a regular bed-time routine. On average children in Cambridge are going to bed at 10.37pm on a school night.
“Three quarters (75 per cent) of children in the city reported they haven't been taught the importance and benefits of sleeping.
“Further research findings revealed that 60 per cent of children in Cambridge feel more grown up if they stay up longer. In order to delay going to bed, a quarter of children offer to do household chores such as washing up after dinner.
“Over half, (55 per cent) strike up a conversation with their parents so that they can stay up late. Six out of ten (61 per cent) children in Cambridge regularly argue with their parents about what time they should go to bed.
“And interestingly, three out of ten (30 per cent) parents in Cambridge allow their children to stay up longer on a school night, as a reward if they have been good, or as a bargaining tool.”
The spokeswoman added: “The research also revealed that seven out of ten children in Cambridge are going to bed with at least one smart device such as a mobile phone or tablet. This is detrimental to the quality of sleep children are getting as electronic lights can delay the release of melatonin, disrupting the sleep cycle and making it harder to fall asleep.
Top 5 tips to help children get a good nights sleep
Establish a bed-time routine and wake up time
Set aside time for children to wind down properly
Limit screen time – devices should be put away an hour before bedtime
Ban devices, TVs and computers from the bedroom
Create a calm environment which is cool, quiet and dark
“A third (33 per cent) of sneaky children in Cambridge also admitted that they regularly pretend to go to sleep and wake up after their parents have gone to bed and play with their smart devices."
Dr Pat Spungin, child psychologist and family life specialist, said: “There is very little information available to parents about the importance of a good night's sleep. Parents should be concerned about the effects of sleep deprivation on their children, as lack of sleep has a negative effect on a child's mood, concentration and attention. Research also shows that children who are sleep deprived do less well academically, show more problem behaviour and have lower levels of social skills.”
When Cambridge kids do finally get to sleep, they dream of who theyd like to be, with astronaut Tim Peake, Mark Zuckerberg, David Beckham, Sir James Dyson and Justin Bieber among the favourites.
The celebrities Cambridge children dream theyd like to be
- Tim Peake
- David Beckham
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Kim Kardashian
- Justin Bieber
- A lottery winner
- A business magnate like Sir Alan Sugar
- Super vet Noel Fitzpatrick
- A video game creator like Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong
- A Nobel Prize winner