Korean Children 'Don't Get Enough Sleep'

  • englishnews@chosun.com

    January 09, 2009 07:44

    Korean children get the least sleep in the world. The finding comes from a survey of 3,506 elementary schoolchildren aged between seven and 12 in Daegu carried out by a team of Yeungnam University Medical Center, Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, and Gumi CHA University Medical Center from December 2007.

    The older Korean children are, the less they sleep: seven-year-old children sleep 9.08 hours per day on average, eight-year-olds 8.89 hours, nine-year-olds 8.75 hours, 10-year-olds 8.52 hours, 11-year-olds 8.39 hours, and 12-year-olds 8.21 hours. Presumably because of this, the ratio of children suffering chronic sleep shortages, as they sleep less than eight hours a day, soared from 4.3 percent for seven-year-olds to 25 percent for 12-year-olds.

    Korean children sleep about 30 minutes to an hour and a half less than those in other countries, as compared with data released from foreign countries since 2000. Ten-year-old Korean children sleep shortest, or 8.52 hours a day, as compared with their counterparts in Switzerland (9.9 hours), the U.S. (9.44 hours), Saudi Arabia (9.2 hours), and Hong Kong (8.72 hours).

    By contrast, 5.6 percent of the Korean children take a midday nap to make up for missed sleep, as compared with 0.5 percent of children in Western countries. Korean children are often deprived of sleep because they go to bed late, which appears to have something to do with double-income parents' poor management of their children's studies at private tutoring institutes.

    The research team said, "We found that the more hours the children spend at private cramming institutes, the less satisfied they and their parents are with their performance; and the more obese the children are, the fewer hours they sleep." "Special attention is needed, because sleep deprivation has negative effects such as diseases, psychological instability, poor performance, and stunted growth," it warned.

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