NZ children sleep deprived: study

NZ Herald 10 May 2013
New Zealand schoolchildren are among the most sleep-deprived in the world – and technology is flagged as a possible factor.

Researchers found Kiwi children were second only to the United States in a comparison of sleep deprivation.

They say lack of sleep plays a significant role in lowering the achievement of schoolchildren.

The international comparison, carried out by Boston College, found 69 per cent of 9 and 10-year-olds and 62 per cent of 13 and 14-year-olds who were tested in maths were identified by their teachers as being adversely affected by not enough sleep.

That number is above the international average of 47 per cent and 57 per cent respectively. In literacy tests, 69 per cent of Kiwi 9 and 10-year-olds were without enough sleep.

NZ Principals’ Federation President Philip Harding said teachers saw sleepy children in class “all the time”.

Parents needed to realise the home environment was crucial to how their child performed in school, he said. “Some of our parents are powerless in the face of kids that don’t want to go to bed, or kids who connive to stay up.

“Who’s in charge? I think modern parenting demands parents to think about who is the boss, who knows best, and what should be happening, and then to make that happen.”