Soaring numbers of children are being admitted to hospital for sleep disorders. Picture: Pixabay

Soaring numbers of children are being admitted to hospital for sleep disorders, official figures reveal.

Admissions among under-16s have risen by 44 % in the past five years, which experts have blamed on mental health problems, social media use and obesity.

There were 9,429 admissions for sleep disorders in 2017-18 among under-16s, up from 6,520 in 2013, data from NHS Digital analysed by the Guardian shows. Mandy Gurney, the founder of the Millpond Sleep Clinic in West London, has seen a 30 % rise in anxiety-related referrals in schoolchildren.

She said: ‘It’s a very worrying increase, especially if [it] continues to go up. We feel that the rise is very much based on anxiety. There is school pressure, peer pressure, social media pressure.’

The figures also show there were 8,274 hospital admissions for sleep apnoea in 2017/18.

Consultant Michael Farquhar, of the Evelina Children’s Hospital in South-East London, said: ‘We have two main epidemics among children. One is obesity and the other is mental health, and underpinning both is sleep.’