India is facing a shortage of sleep, a problem that is increasingly affecting children, as well as their families, the government said.
India has the highest number of infant deaths in the world, and the country is also the world’s most vulnerable to the effects of sleep-related illnesses.
It has the second highest number in the Asia Pacific region and the fourth highest number globally.
It also ranks No. 4 in the U.S. in infant mortality.
India’s Chief Health Officer K K Gupta said last week that the country’s sleep patterns were “unfortunate,” but that the shortage could be addressed through efforts to encourage sleep hygiene.
Gupta said the government is “trying to find ways to improve sleep hygiene in the country, through various means, such as the implementation of sleep hygiene measures and the use of sleep bags.”
India is one of only a handful of nations that don’t have a national sleep plan, a guideline that sets national standards for sleep and encourages sleep in public places.
The WHO recommends that all children under 6 years of age sleep on a double mattress in the home with a separate sleeping surface for each child, with two beds and at least a double wall.
The WHO also recommends that children be protected from sudden and unexpected awakenings, but Gupta said “this is not always possible.”
Gupta said the WHO recommended that India improve its sleep hygiene through the use and care of sleep devices, including a “sleep pad,” as well the use in public of bedding, pillows, mattresses and cribs.
“The use of mattresses is becoming increasingly common in India.
We are also aware of the need to promote use of cribs in homes and that parents should use a crib if they are staying in one room,” Gupta said.
The government also has implemented measures to reduce the number of days a child spends in the house and reduce their exposure to the environment.
The government has created the National Child Sleep Policy to increase the use, promotion and use of outdoor activities, including play.
Gupta also said that the government had increased the number and quality of educational and social programs.
“We have implemented the National Family and Child Development Strategy, which will aim at improving the lives of our children through better educational and support for their families,” Gupta added.