A 2004 study by the National Sleep Foundation showed that on average, children in the US get nearly a full hour less sleep than recommended at night.
Twelve per cent of participants slept fewer than eight hours, while only 10% got the recommended 10-11 hours. Two-thirds of the children experienced "frequent sleep problems," which included difficulty falling asleep, sleepiness during the day, and trouble breathing while asleep.
School-aged children were most likely to have difficulty waking in the morning, which according to Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the Surrey Sleep Centre, is a sign they need more sleep.
"Children in particular are affected by sleep deprivation," says Mr Dijk. "At that stage in life we accept how the lack of sleep has an impact on behaviour and mood."
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Scientists have linked a lack of sleep in children to problems with concentration and schoolwork, says Dr Neil Stanley, a freelance sleep expert. He also also says sleep plays a key role in bodily growth.
But if modern distractions are causing many children to lose sleep, hasn't this long been the case? Did the advent of the electric light not give children, among others, just another reason to stay up late?
Fears about lack of sleep have been with us for at least a century, says Professor Jim Horne, director of the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre.
He cites an article in the journal Nature from 1908, which reported a meeting of the Child Studies Society. The then president of the society, Sir James Crichton-Browne, commented that "the evil of insufficient sleep is widespread amongst children".
Mr Horne says sleep cannot have been easy in the cold and crowded homes that were once commonplace.
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"If you think about what life must have been like in those days, children would be crammed into one bedroom, with the older ones staying up later. The beds would be uncomfortable, damp maybe. So a good sleep would have been hard to come by.
"I suppose the reluctance to go to sleep when your parents tell you has been built into the psyche of children since the beginning of time."
But if sleep deprivation has been with us for many years, Mr Horne believes it is more acutely felt these days.
"If you were a child in the Victorian times not getting enough sleep probably didn't matter so much... if you are sitting in school with a slate and a stick of chalk. Schooling and education are so much more intense now. Kids nowadays have to hit the deck running every morning, they are so crammed full of information."
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