How Sleep Loss Affects Children and Teens’ HealthRTE

Irish policy makers need to wake up to the issue of sleep loss affecting children and young people’s education and health. Most children and young people need at least nine hours of restful sleep each night. Sleep loss impacts on a wide range of aspects in a child’s education, such as his/her attention, reasoning, memory, motivation and school performance, as well as social and behavioural aspects, such as interaction with both teachers and peers.

Regular, quality and adequate length sleep is associated with general wellbeing, feeling stable and being able to cope with emotional distress. Since sleep deficiency is related to physical tiredness and fatigue, psychological distress and increased vulnerability, it tends to affect general wellbeing and school attainment. Prolonged sleep deficiency in childhood and adolescence can have a negative impact on brain development.

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