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Quality sleep is key to children's health

A good night's sleep is as important to a child's health as a balanced diet and regular exercise, experts have said.

A vital human requirement, sleep is crucial to staying physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

A survey of more than 2,000 adults commissioned by The Sleep Council reveals that almost three-quarters of people (73%) believe children should be taught about the importance of a good night's sleep.

And six in 10 (60%) said sleep education should be included in the national curriculum.

The findings show eight in 10 adults (80%) recognise how important sleep is for a child to do well at school, but many have a lack of understanding about the subject.

Almost half of parents of children under five (58%) questioned did not know that a three-year-old needs 12 hours sleep.

Dr Chris Idzikowski, of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: "We teach children about nutrition and ensure regular exercise is part of their weekly activities, but the third critical ingredient of a healthy lifestyle - sleep - is barely touched upon."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

The Edinburgh Sleep Centre

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"This is a really valid point and one that is not really appreciated. I deal with lots of children who have enuresis and I talk to them about the importance of drinking water for a healthy body and mind. They take this in really well, but as they are constantly being disturbed during the night with their bedwetting it will be a difficult area to highlight and one which I will have to tackle with diplomacy so as not to cause any extra stress to both the child and family" - Anne Milsom, Germany