Canadian children aren’t getting enough sleep, and it has nothing to do with wanting to stay up late to put the finishing touches on an art project.
Too little physical activity, coupled with too much screen time and sedentary behavior has led to fewer kids getting a good rest.
That’s according to the latest report from ParticipACTION, which included sleep in its study for the first time.
It says for optimal health, kids and youth need to sleep, step, sweat, and sit for the right blocks of time.
Right now, only 9% of kids are getting enough heart-pumping physical activity, and 24% are meeting screen time guidelines of no more than two hours a day.
The data also finds the amount of time sleeping has decreased by about 30 minutes, and 31% of school-aged kids and 26% of adolescents are sleep deprived which can lead to other health issues: hyperactivity, lower IQ scores, as well as bring on hormonal changes like those associated with increased risks of obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
The 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card finds Grade 5 students with higher physical activity levels are less likely to be sleepy during the day, and that high-schoolers who get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day are 41% more likely to get enough sleep than those who don’t.
“Sleep deprivation is becoming a problem for Canadian children and youth, creating an insidious threat to their mental and physical health. It’s time to take a whole day approach. Many kids are too tired to get enough physical activity during the day, and not active enough to be tired at night. It’s a vicious cycle.” – Dr. Mark Tremblay, Chief Scientific Officer, ParticipACTION Report Card and Director of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute’s Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (CHEO-HALO).
“Our tendency may be to cram more into each day to wear kids out, but a full schedule of activities doesn’t necessarily equal more physical activity. It’s time for a wake-up call. If we want to improve sleep in our kids, we need to get them off the couch and away from their screens with regular, heart-pumping activity.” – Elio Antunes, President and CEO, ParticipACTION.
The Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth call for at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, no more than two hours a day of screen time, limited sitting for extended periods, as well as, at least, 9-11 hours of sleep per night for children 5-13 years, 8-10 hours for 14-17 year olds.
To read the full report, click here.