Not Enough Sleep for Singapore Kids
It was an interesting article in the Straits Times last month about the amount of sleep our children in Singapore get compared to their counterparts in Switzerland. Here they sleep about two hours less than Swiss kids.
I have often heard visitors from other countries comment on how late the children here seem to stay up at night. It is not uncommon to see them accompanying their parents at hawker centres after 11pm. I hadn't realised that anybody thought that it was an issue, until a friend told me that in Western countries children are often in bed by 7:30pm, or even earlier in Winter.
A cynical part of me wants to say that in Switzerland in winter, what else can you do except go to bed. I mean nobody stays up half the night to make cuckoo clocks any more, do they?
The study found that 44% of children here have difficulty waking up in the morning and that 40% woke up tired. As a mother I can certainly relate to that..
The report also noted that most parents believed their children were getting enough sleep and were completely unaware that their children might be suffering from sleep deprivation.The scary parts of the report was this: "Paediatricians said their findings were a cause for concern since children with later or irregular bedtimes, short sleeping times and daytime sleepiness have lower academic achievements and that sleep deprivations are associated with the increased incidence of learning disorders, unintentional injuries, obesity, impaired immunity and mood and anxiety disorders".
One of the report's authors, Associate Professor Stacey Tay, told the Straits Times: "My personal experience experience is that many children and teenagers are quite sleep-deprived. They see me in the clinic for headaches, dizziness and poor attention in class" But once they started sleeping longer, many of their physical problems improved, she said, adding that some children showed markedly improved academic ability."
As parents, nannies, maids and care-givers, let us take heed of this study and make sure our children get sufficient sleep. After all, it will help the parents to get more sleep, too. No more dozing off on the MRT!