The U.S. Children's Sleep Crisis and Its Effects on the Next Generation

Sleep is a basic human need, especially for kids who are growing, exploring, and learning about their world. The sad truth, though, is that too many U.S. children don't have beds to sleep in--a crisis affecting everything from grades to health to self-esteem. Luckily, people are finding creative ways to help.

A Good Night's Sleep

Think back, for a moment, to the last time you weren't able to get a good night's sleep. How did you feel the next morning? Were you irritable, frustrated, uncomfortable, or just plain unhappy? Did you have a hard time focusing on your daily tasks?

For kids without beds, all of these feelings are a daily reality. The CDC reports that children and young adults who don't get a good night's sleep can face health problems ranging from obesity to physical injury--and on top of that, they may have emotional and behavioral issues. For all these reasons and more, it's incredibly important for kids of all ages to get enough rest on a daily basis--and beds are a big part of that.

Bedtime without a Bed

For kids who sleep in chairs, on couches, or curled up on the floor, bedtime isn't much fun. They often end up slouched or resting in uncomfortable positions, which can be bad for their growing joints, muscles, and bones; they also face unique emotional stress.

“It is really difficult to create change in your life if you don’t have the essentials,” says Mark Bergel, American University Doctorate and founder of A Wider Circle, a nonprofit organization working to furnish people's houses. Naturally, he's right: kids without beds tend to struggle with issues like low self-esteem, bullying, and more, which makes it difficult for them to imagine futures full of success and happiness.

In short, bedtime without a bed is unhealthy for more than just the body--it's unhealthy for the soul, too.

Creative Solutions

The bad news is that 2-3% of U.S. children don't have a bed to sleep in, according to information collected so far by SHP team members in cities with Chapters.

The good news is that there are people like Luke Mickelson looking for creative ways to help and that there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved at SHP.

SHP Chapters work every day across the U.S. to stop the sleep crisis by providing free beds for kids who need them; helping to create comfortable and dignified environments where children feel safer, happier, and more confident. We build and deliver every bed, allowing families in need to focus on what matters most and relieve some of the stress they may be feeling.

If you would like more information about our organization or if you're ready to get involved, please contact us today! We appreciate that you've taken the time to learn about this critical--and solvable--crisis.

Learn more about the ways you can get involved with SHP