Indian toddlers are suffering from THIS common health problem, say doctors

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All Indian parents of small babies must read this!

While all of us mothers are worried about the nutrition levels of our toddlers, let us tell you that it's not the only health concern that is affecting your little one's growth. Yes, that's right!

According to a first-of-its-kind study, which was done in order to access the sleep patterns of toddlers across Asia, most Indian toddlers are sleep-deprived, which is affecting their growth and immunity.

The doctors also observed that all patterns of sleep deprivation such as going to bed late, waking up early and irregular bedtimes that were usually associated with adults till now can be seen in Indian toddlers as small as three years of age.

The study findings

toddler-sleeping

The study was by a network of 14 paediatricians across four hospitals, part of a non-profit called Asia Pacific Paediatric Sleep Alliance (APPSA).

The sleeping patterns of toddlers across India were compared with those of non-Asian countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States. The researchers asked the parents of 10,666 infants and toddlers, including 3,000 from India, to fill up a detailed questionnaire. This is what they found.

  • Toddlers in India slept at almost 10pm on an average as compared to other countries where the bedtime is 8 pm.
  • Indian kids also woke up at least twice in a night as compared to only once in the night in other countries.

Reasons for the sleep deprivation

The following were the causes of sleep deprivation in toddlers, according to the study:

  1. Both parents work late, so child sleeps late.
  2. Parents let their kids sleep and wake up with them.
  3. The kids shared the same bed as the parent, which meant they slept at the same time as the parents.
  4. Toddlers were still being breastfed at night, which also affects their sleeping patterns.
  5. Rising noise levels in Indian cities.

Continue reading on the next page to know how lack of sleep affects yout child!

How sleep deprivation affects your child

A lack of sleep can affect the growth of your child, says the study as the growth hormone is secreted only in the night. Irregular sleeping patterns can also affect the child's immunity, appetite, cognitive ability and make him generally more cranky and irritable.

“They tend to be underweight as the growth hormone is secreted only during nighttime sleep. Abnormal secretion affects the child’s growth and immunity. Inadequate sleep also affects a child’s psychological growth, leading to hyperactivity and lack of attention,” said Dr Somu Sivabalan, a Chennai-based paediatrican in the report.

The need for a bedtime routine

The study doctors also agree that parents should follow a strict bedtime routine to ensure that the child gets sound sleep. Here's how you can make your toddler's bedtime an enjoyable experience:

1. Set up a time table: Choose a time according to the child's daily activity and make sure that you stick by it.

2. Give him a warm bath: Give your child a warm bath or generally tidy him up before he goes to bed. Change him into comfortable soft, cotton sleeping clothes that do not interuppt him sleep.

3. Choose an activity of his choice: While there are many toddlers who love reading, others just like soothing, happy music. You can also sing him his favourite lullaby.

4. Get your child a sleep buddy: This could be a doll, a teddy or any other toy that your child is fond of and one that provides him comfort.

5. Keep screens away: Make sure to not use any screens such as mobile phones, iPads, or TV to help your child fall asleep. These things only add as a deterrence and also make your child restless instead of calming him down.

Also read: Are you frustrated with your toddler's sleep issues?

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[All images courtesy: Pixabay]
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