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- From 2016 to 2021, prescriptions for sleeping pills to young people under the age of 16 nearly doubled.
- Experts believe staying home amid lockdown and anxiety has helped
- Increased screen usage at night has also been reported as a problem
Lockdowns have resulted in record numbers of children being prescribed sleeping pills as they struggled to cope with the chaos.
Sleeping pill prescriptions for young people under 16 in England nearly doubled between 2016 and 2021, with a particularly large jump after the pandemic began, according to figures released by the Mail on Sunday. rice field.
In 2021, the last year for which statistics are available, 643,998 “hypnotic” prescriptions were issued to children under the age of 16.
Pre-pandemic, prescriptions for these sleeping pills to children were increasing at a rate of about 50,000 per year.
UK prescribing of sleeping pills to under-16s nearly doubled between 2016 and 2021
But since 2020, it has accelerated, adding nearly 80,000 people a year.
According to medical guidelines, these types of drugs should not usually be prescribed to children unless they are intended for short-term treatment of night terrors or sleepwalking.
Experts see a toxic mix of lockdown-induced disruptions to children’s schooling, lack of exercise due to being homebound as a result, fear of not seeing friends, and fear of family safety. is making sleep more difficult.
These days, family money worries may also be on your mind.
Chris Martin, chief executive of UK youth charity The Mix, said: “It is very concerning that more and more young people are using sleeping pills. Getting enough rest is essential.
“I encourage young people to develop healthy sleep habits rather than relying on prescription drugs. Avoid screens before bed, exercise regularly, and seek support if you feel overwhelmed. please.”
Experts believe a toxic cocktail of lockdown-induced disruptions to children’s schooling may have contributed to the worsening sleep disturbances experienced during this period.
He said young people face “multiple challenges” with “anxiety and stress caused by the cost of living crisis”, an increasingly common reference by people calling the helpline.
Another statistic shows that hundreds of children and teenagers in the UK are hospitalized for sleep disorders, with hospitalizations for conditions such as insomnia nearly doubling in recent years.
A 2021 study review published in the journal Sleep Science states:
Another issue is the increased screen time among children and teenagers, especially in the evening.
An article in Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics Of North America warns: and/or decreased total sleep time.