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Kids In Danger…Depriving Them Of Sleep Causes Medical Disorders   
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Back in time, sending children to school early in the morning was without a hassle. The children were relaxed and spared the gruelling experience of waking up very early to meet the reporting time.

All too soon, things have changed. The exigencies of the time, which put excessive pressure on most parents to juggle between work and dropping their wards off at school, is, unfortunately, coming at a great cost to the mental and social development of many children in Ghana.

Children are deprived of the needed sleep, and this, according to medical experts, is a dangerous for their health and for the overall development of these children.

Children who go to bed late but are woken up too early in the morning are not only susceptible to short attention span in school, irritability and other behavioural disorders, but also face serious medical conditions such as heart diseases and obesity.

“Long-term lack of sleep in children increases their risk for heart disease and obesity,” Dr Marilyn Marbell-Wilson, a Developmental Paediatrician at the Mission Clinic in Accra, told Weekend Finder.

According to her, sleep is very important for the development of the child, and if the child is being woken up when he/she still needs to sleep, depending on when he/she fell asleep, “then definitely that is going to affect his behaviour.”

She bemoaned the fact that in most homes children do not have sleep times.

“I think the problem is not the waking up early, but when they go to bed. A lot of kids in Ghana do not have bed time, and they sleep whenever they sleep, but then they have to wake up early; that is where the problem is,” she stated.

She continued that if children are waking up too early and do not have any opportunity to sleep again during the day, then their attention span and their learning abilities in general are curtailed because memory and consolidation of learning occurs during sleep.

She also mentioned that although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not directly caused by lack of sleep, children with inadequate sleep could exhibit similar symptoms.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behaviour, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

According to a recent study from John Hopkins University, for each additional hour of sleep, the risk of a child becoming overweight or obese was lowered on average by 9%. The paper also showed that children who slept the least had a 92% higher risk of being overweight or obese compared to children with longer sleep duration.

Reducing sleep may disrupt the ability of students to concentrate for long periods of time and remember what they learn in class. According to a study, children with reduced sleep are more likely to struggle with verbal creativity and problem solving; it also inhibits their behaviour, and makes them generally score lower on IQ tests.

"If children are not sleeping well, the consequences may be problems with behaviour, attention, learning, and memory," says Dr Shelly Weiss, Paediatric Programme Director at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
Source: The Finder

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