Melatonin Replaces Bedtime Stories
by CherryBlossom on January 26, 2016 - 8:37am
Melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep timing is being administered to children by their parents to help them fall asleep, explains Sam Cooper in his article published in The Province.
Sleep deprivation seems to be an increasing social issue in Canada as supports a new Canadian study that examined 350 children from a pediatric emergency department. The study targeted children who visited the pediatric center for reasons other than sleep problems. It was observed that out of the children who had known medical conditions, 80 percent also suffered from sleep deprivation. The percentage was found to be slightly lower, that is 70 percent for the healthy children of the study.
Interestingly, 50 percent of the parents expressed giving melatonin to their children.
According to Wendy Hall, a researcher at the University of B.C, this issue is due to our long exposure to screens. The light hinders our body’s melatonin production, which naturally occurs at night when the light around us starts to fade. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of this over-the-counter drug are still unknown. On the other hand, redness of the eyes and skin as well as dizziness were found to be some of the short-term effects of the intake of this hormone.
Sleep deprivation was proven to induce behavioral problems in children such as difficulty learning, which is why some Canadian doctors believe that some children are misdiagnosed with Attention Hyperactivity Disorder when in fact they would be lacking sleep.
To counter sleep deprivation in children, Wendy Hall suggest that parents set a regular bedtime that is before 9pm so as to allow children to sink in a deeper sleep for a long period of time. The university professor also recommends reading paper books during bedtime and avoiding exposure to any screens hours before children are put to bed.
Reference: Cooper, Sam. “Lack of sleep is hurting Canada’s kids – and parents are drugging them to try to help out, new study shows”. The Province. The Province, January 5 2016. Web