Sleep problems in children triple in a decade

26 April 2017

Hospital attendances in England for children under 14 with sleep disorders have tripled in 10 years, according to NHS data.

The figures, analysed by the BBC’s Panorama, show that prescriptions of sleep medication melatonin have also increased 10-fold over the same period.

Poor sleep in children has been linked to a greater risk of obesity, lower immunity and mental health issues, as well as poor school performance.

The documentary highlights the possible reasons, including the use of smart devices and the rising number of households with two working parents.

Dr Catherine Hill, consultant at Southampton Children’s Hospital, says children’s sleep needs to be on the public health agenda: ‘We’ve done it with nutrition: we now need to wake up to the importance of sleep.’

● Watch the documentary at