S.onno and childrena theme that is often talked about but which, just as often, is not given the right relief.
According to the data released in 2019 by the Italian Society of Pediatrics, insomnia, far from affecting only adults, it is also a problem for the little ones. It is calculated in fact that in the industrialized world 25% of children under the age of 5 suffer from sleep disorderswhile after 6 years and until adolescence the percentage is around at 10-12%.
Compared to a hundred years ago, therefore, it has been calculated that i children in the western world they sleep an average of 2 hours less. But what we often tend to underestimate are the effects that the bad rest He can have on children’s health.
In fact, sleep deprivation produces serious damage both on a psychological levelwith effects such as bad mood, irritability and depression, both on a physical level, exposing you to a greater risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes.
It was to have studied this phenomenon closely Novella Fronda, Foundation that deals with research and prevention to tackle addictions. In fact, already in 2016 the Onlus, through the Goodnight projectcarried out on a representative sample of children from 1 to 5 years, had highlighted the close relationship between sleep deprivation and a series of improper behaviors, such as non-compliance with the rules, failure to recognize parental authority or teachers, aggression and abuse of technology.
Sleep and children: why is it important to educate children to sleep well?
“Sleep is one of the three factors that, with hunger and thirst, are essential for survival of the individual understood as a living being of any age. – explains Professor Luigi Gallimberti, psychiatrist toxicologist and president of the Novella Fronda Foundation – I have always worked with addiction which I have discovered to be first of all a neurological disorder, a brain disease. Over the years I have treated a number of individuals and patients, affected by addictions, who have not slept for years and who, after a few days of TMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) began to sleep and returned to physiological sleep. From these premises I have thus come to highlight an evidence: if people with a chronic use of psychostimulants do not sleepdepriving children of sleep can induce them a physiological attraction to psychostimulants“.
Sleep and children: the study on the effects of deprivation
“We are now used to hearing about tragic phenomena concerning adolescentshow suicidesgestures of self-harmacts of violence e bullying. – explains Professor Gallimberti – Well, all these phenomena can be traced back to sleep deprivation. It may seem like a strong statement but this is what emerged from a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics ».
The international study conducted by Boston University, out of 70 000 children, aged between 13 and 17, is the confirmation of how much sleep is essential for a healthy life. The research has in fact highlighted the directly proportional relationship between sleep deprivation and disorders or conduct at risk: dangerous driving, deflated mood, self-harm, sexual assault, drug and alcohol use.
The study of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità
«Thanks to this study it was observed that these behaviors were all correlated in appearance and intensity to sleep deprivation. – explains Gallimberti – To get to the extreme, therefore, we can say than sleeping less than 6 hours triples the risk of suicide in young people “.
The latest important study still in progress on these issues was activated by theHigher Institute of Health, of which Novella Fronda is a member of the scientific committee. The study concerns a representative sample of 4 thousand young people, between 11 and 17 years oldresiding throughout Italy, to investigate risk factors, including sleep, linked to various addictions.
Sleep and children: why is sleep important?
To understand how sleeping too little can have such important effects on the health of the individual, it is useful to understand which one physiological function has sleep.
«Let’s start by saying that the brain has 100 billion neurons that do day and night work, that is, they work 24 hours a day. – explains Gallimberti – Durante sleep the brain performs two operations fundamental: on the one hand, that of clean up waste which he accumulated during daytime activity, on the other hand that of cut the synapses (the connections between nerve cells) where memory is deposited. During the day, in fact, we store a large amount of information, especially today through the use of new media. This is information that is in the vast majority unnecessary. A good sleep, therefore, has the important function of freeing the brain from this useless information. The individual who has slept the right number of hours is in the morning with a ‘clean’ brain and with the right space to store information. But if this is not done completely, the effects are inevitable ».
The “Sleep and Quality of Life” project
Precisely for this the Novella Fronda Foundation launched the project “Sleep and Quality of Life” which aims to spread a culture of sleepstill little known today, e practical rules for parents to let the children sleep the hours they need according to the age group.
Thanks to the support of the Cariparo Foundation, they were organized a series of interventions aimed at the population of all of Italy to inform but also provide answers on how to reverse the dangerous trend of sleeping less and less.
The first date scheduled will be the conference online to be held Tuesday 25 October from 6.30pm to 8pm and who will see the same as speakers Professor Luigi Gallimberti with professor Eugenio Baraldi, pediatrician and director of the Department of Women’s and Child Health of the University of Padua, Francesco Nocegeneral practitioner and President of the Order of Doctors of Rovigo and Veneto, Elisabetta Formentin, pediatrician and councilor of the Order of Doctors of Padua, la Dr. Flavia Ceschinpediatrician, coordinator of the SICuPP sleep group, la doctor Sonia Chindamopsychotherapist, the doctor Luis Javier Gomez Perezpsychologist and researcher of Novella Fronda.
Sleep and health: an increasingly important issue
“If the world slept the hours it takes, 80% of the ailments we see in children today would tend to disappear – concludes Professor Gallimberti – For this reason we want to promote a cultural change that starts from the assumption of how the sleep deprivation is a very serious problem, for anyone, not just for parents and children. Just as we know that planet earth is undergoing devastating climatic variations, we must strive to imagine a brain planet that is undergoing dramatic devastation precisely because of sleep deprivation ».
In light of these considerations, in the gallery above some useful tips to educate children in proper sleep hygiene.
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