The Fact Maker

Alarming Rise of Sleep Disorders Among Indian Children

More than 30% children experience inconsistent sleep and 28 % are sleep deprived.

Hyderabad: Sleep-disorders in children is a reality in the modern world filled with plethora of distractions. A multicentre study was conducted across 10 hospitals in India to study the reality of ‘Sleep Disorders among Indian Children.’ The study was conducted to understand the sleep patterns of children in India in the age group of 1-18 years, visiting hospitals for minor ailments and immunizations. It excluded the children with significant medical conditions or taking medications affecting sleep. The study showed 31.2% of children experienced inconsistent sleep timings between weekdays and weekends, while 28% did not get sufficient sleep.

The study evaluated a total of 2235 children, comprising 53% males and 47% females. Detailed interviews were conducted with the parents using a basic sleep screening questionnaire. Parents reporting sleep problems in their children underwent further assessment using the Paediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ) developed by Chervin et al. Sleep problems were reported by 30.1% of surveyed parents. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic altered the sleep patterns of 11.5% of the children. Common diagnoses across all age groups included mouth breathing (8.3%), bruxism (7.3%), sleep talking (7.1%), snoring (6.7%), restless sleep (5.1%), nightmares (4.8%), bedwetting (4.3%), delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (2.3%), behavioural insomnia (2.3%), sleep terrors (1.6%), nocturnal leg pains (1.6%), and confusional arousals (1%).

According to Dr Srinivas Jakka, Senior Consultant Paediatrician and Pulmonologist, Ankura Hospital for Women and Children who was one of the leading doctors conducting the study, “Sleep Disorders in Indian children is a reality and a challenge to our present lifestyle. The study underscores the prevalence of sleep problems among Indian children, with a significant portion experiencing sleep deprivation. Understanding children’s sleep patterns is fundamental to their physical health, mental acuity, learning abilities, and behaviour. The findings of this study highlight the importance of parental education regarding children’s sleep issues and hygiene. Early intervention to address sleep problems can positively impact children’s overall health and development.”