More and more children are using sleeping pills. In ten years, use among children and adolescents has doubled.
‘This is disturbing. Giving medication to children to get them to sleep should not be the first choice. It should be the exception’, said Mari Hysing, psychologist at Uni Research Health to the newspaper Bergens Tidende.
Figures from the Norwegian Prescription Database show that in the past ten years, the number of hypnotics used by children and adolescents between the ages of zero and 19 years has doubled.
‘A recent study shows that children who struggle with sleep in elementary school also have a much higher risk of these problems continuing during adolescence’, says Hysing.
Surveys among Norwegian children have demonstrated that difficulties with the onset of sleep increased from 12.5 percent to 20.5 percent between 1983 and 2005.
Ståle Pallesen, a professor of psychology at the University of Bergen (and researcher on sleep problems), believes it could be the increased use of technology, and poor sleep habits that are causing this.
‘It could also be that parents are more stressed than before and so they have less tolerance for kids who aren’t sleeping. The parents have a lower threshold before they let kids use sleeping pills as a quick fix’, he says.
In 2004, 3,117 children aged between ten and 19 years old were prescribed sleep medications. Last year, there were 10,822 in the same age category who used sleep drugs.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today