Indian kids are being conditioned at a young age to take over the world
Indian children are going to bed much later and are getting lesser sleep than their Caucasian counterparts. A largescale study, which compared the sleep patterns of children in Caucasian and Asian countries, found substantial differences in sleep patterns in young children.
Authored by Jodi Mindell, from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and presented at Sleep 2008 – the meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Baltimore (US), the study concluded that Indian children obtained less overall sleep, had later bedtimes and were more likely to share their rooms than their Caucasian counterparts.
Of the children studied, 3,892 were from India, 4,505 from the US, 1,073 from Australia, 1,081 from New Zealand, 501 from Canada, 997 from Malaysia, 1,034 from Philippines, 1,001 from Singapore and 1,049 from Hong Kong. The study also included 800 British children, 1,036 from Korea, 896 from Taiwan, 967 from Indonesia, 872 from Japan and 7,505 from China.
“This study is the first to look at sleep in infants and toddlers cross-culturally and the results are astonishing,” said Dr Mindell. “We found vast differences in amounts of sleep and parents’ perceptions of sleep problems across countries. It needs to be investigated if these differences are simply the result of differing cultural practices and what is the impact, if any, of these vast differences,” she added. According to Dr Vikram Sarabhai, sleep medicine expert from Max Hospital, Indian children could be getting two hours less sleep than their Caucasian counterparts.
“It’s true that Indian children are getting much lesser sleep. As a result, their growth is suffering. Growth hormones made by the pituitary gland – that is responsible for increasing glucose uptake in muscle, enhancing protein synthesis in the liver and muscle and causing the breakdown of fat – is released primarily during sleep. When sleeping hours are compromised, so is growth,” he said.
Dr M S Kanwar, senior consultant of critical care and sleep medicine at Apollo Hospital, added, “One major factor for this is the homework load on children in India. This makes them stay up late. Also, kids in India are much more hooked to late night TV as against those in Europe and US where families go to sleep by 10pm. Which Indian family sleeps at 10pm? Children in India are also taking less interest in outdoor sports.”
Experts say parents should follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep each night. Interact with your child at bedtime. Don’t let the TV, computer or video games take your place.
Via Kounteya Sinha