Jennifer Moses drives this point home in Waking Up to Young Kids' Sleep Troubles:
We're used to teenagers (SATs! Hormones! Facebook!), college students (can you say "pulled an all-nighter"?) and hard-driving professionals (billable hours!) not being adequately rested. Now we can add a new category of the chronically catatonic: preadolescents.
Take 10-year-olds who routinely wake at 3 a.m. with a nightmare or a wave of anxiety—and just as routinely move into their parents' beds for the rest of the night. Or the sixth-grader who's always tired because she has so much homework that, even when she finishes it on time, she's too keyed up to fall asleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, two-thirds of kids in the years through middle school aren't getting adequate sleep, which, for these ages, is 10 to 12 hours. James B. Maas, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, puts that figure higher, at around 85%. A study published in 1999 showed that about 10% of school-age kids through fourth grade fall asleep in school—and parents and experts will tell you that the problem, enhanced by the Age of Internet and iPod, has only grown worse. From Massachusetts to Oregon, middle schools, along with high schools, are now pushing back their start times so that students can get more sleep. Which is a great idea—unless it just gives kids yet another excuse to stay up late and watch TV.
This statistic really surprised me:
But sleeping tight is hard when 42% of children have televisions in their bedrooms, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Hat tip: Race to Nowhere, The Dark Side of America's Achievement Culture