How to help your child to a good night’s sleep

2023-06-08

An increasing number of Swedish children and adolescents use prescription drugs to sleep at night, so how can parents and schools help them come to rest naturally? In Swedish Radio's Junior news (Juniornyheterna), ten-year-old Tindra and sleep researcher Christian Benedict talk about routines and fun challenges likely to come in handy before bedtime.

Sleeping child

Sleep depravation among Swedish children and youths are becoming increasingly common. In the last decade, the use of sleeping pills and sedatives among 0-19 year olds has increased fivefold. But what are the reasons behind this negative development? And what happens when a child doesn't get enough sleep? In a new episode of Swedish Radio's Juniornyheterna, ten-year-old Tindra and Christian Benedict, sleep researcher at Uppsala University, talk about ways to recreate functioning sleep routines.

“Our brains are constantly curious, not least when we are young. It works at full capacity when we learn a new dance, do homework, play soccer, meet friends or check social media. Therefore, it is necessary that we let our brain rest at night to give it time to sort and clean among all the impressions. Unfortunately, many children experience constant stress to perform and worries about not fitting in, something that is hardly eased by everything they encounter on their screens in the evening,” says Christian Benedict.

Christian Benedict, Faculty of Pharmacy
Bildtext

In Juniornyheterna, Tindra describes how her sleep problems come about as she got access to Youtube. After a while, she starts watching increasingly scarier movies, soon leading to her being afraid of the dark in her bedroom. When Tindra eventually gets too tired to go to school, she tells her parents about her worries, and together they manage to find methods and routines to help Tindra sleep well again.

“Our studies show how important it is for young people to get their sleep in order to function in their everyday life. If it is hard to sleep, talk about how you can deal with whatever is difficult. A proven tip is to keep fixed habits that help the body and brain understand when it is time to come down. Why not make it a fun family challenge to put the phones away from supper onwards. Regardless of how you do it, the important thing is that you find a solution that helps you sleep well,” states Christian Benedict.

FACTS

  • Christian Benedict's research group studies how disturbances in the circadian rhythm and sleep loss affect health and performance with a particular focus on the connection between sleep deprivation and metabolism.

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CONTACT

Christian BenedictChristian Benedict, Senior Lecturer
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Christian.Benedict@farmbio.uu.se

Text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt a o

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Last modified: 2024-04-04