Parents ruining children’s lives by failing to teach them to sleep, Tanya Byron says

Parents are inadvertently ruining their children’s lives by not being strict enough about bedtimes, psychologist Tanya Byron has argued, as she examines the drastic effects of sleep deprivation.sleeping child

Prof Byron, who presents television show Bedtime Live, blamed lack of sleep for the hyperactivity, behavioural problems and poor development suffered by many British children.

The problems, she claims, “generally stem from parents who are not teaching them good sleep behaviour”.

This includes letting them stay up too late, allowing them to get up in the night for snack or attention, and tolerating them sleeping in their own double beds or around the house.

Writing in the Radio Times this week, she cited scientific studies which found the UK is “in the midst of an unspoken public health crisis due to escalating levels of sleep deprivation”.

The results, she noted, left children “unable to concentrate and learn, angry and impulsive and relying on high-sugar and high-fat foods to boost flagging energy levels”.

Saying children and teenagers often receive a “bad press” from adults, she questioned whether their perceived bad manners, poor grades and terrible diet were actually their fault.

Instead, she suggested, it could be the result of parents failing to ensure their offspring got enough sleep to cope with the day ahead.


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