National Bed Crisis: Addressing Child Bedlessness

“I recall the day I first received my own bed after years of sleeping in shared beds, on couches, and on floors. I was middle school age and the oldest of five kids. My parents could barely afford food, let alone beds. It wasn’t their fault. They were doing the best they could to provide for us. One day, a good samaritan gave my parents a big gift, and with that they were able to fill the cupboards, pay our rent, and take each of us to pick out our own beds from a furniture store. I remember my first night in that bed, feeling so overwhelmed with gratefulness and peace. I slept better than I could ever remember before, and I felt myself gaining more confidence and feeling more hopeful about life going forward,” recalls Sarah W. “Sleep in Heavenly Peace didn’t exist while I was growing up, but I know for a fact that they are just as needed today (if not more so) as they were then. Children who receive beds from SHP feel the same peace, gratefulness, and hope that I once did. And I’m sure they will treasure the memories of the day they received their beds just as I did. Giving a bed to a child is so much more than a physical change. It affects them emotionally and mentally in ways far beyond that- Giving them hope for a better future.”

Sarah’s story is one of many. According to numbers collected by SHP, roughly 2-3% of American children are without beds. That number is astounding when you consider that America is one of the richest countries in the world. “It’s hard for visions of sugar plums to dance in a little girl’s head when she’s sleeping on a cold floor. It’s hard for a little boy to sleep in heavenly peace on a saggy living room couch. Too many children don’t have a bed to sleep in,” says Regina Brett.”Too many end up sleeping on the floor, on a couch or in a chair, night after night. Every child deserves a bed. It’s a basic need.”

How Sleep Can Affect Children

Many studies have been conducted on the effects that lack of sleep can have on children. The following facts were taken from studies done at Harvard University, the National Science Foundation, Auburn University, and The Better Sleep Council:

  • Poor sleep can lead to hyperactivity issues as early as age five
  • In teenagers, anxiety and depression are linked to poor sleeping habits 27% and 69% of the time
  • Kids who don’t sleep well don’t grow as well as their peers
  • Kids who get good sleep tend to get sick less frequently
  • Plenty of sleep usually translates to better grades, improved emotional health, and a healthier home life
  • Sleep is a sort of “recharge” time for body and mind, and if it’s not adequate there are negative physical and mental effects
  • During sleep, cells can repair themselves, leading to better physical health
  • The brain and body release important hormones during a good night’s sleep, leading to better physical and emotional health
  • Kids who don’t get enough sleep tend to struggle with irritability, forgetfulness and emotional regulation
  • Kids who are sleep deprived tend to struggle with being overweight or obese

A National Problem Requires a National Solution

At SHP, we fully believe that a bed is a basic need for the proper physical, emotional, and mental support that a child needs. When it was brought to our attention that the need for beds went far beyond our own neighborhoods, we stepped up and took initiative. We’re a national organization answering the call to a national problem. Will you help us? Learn more about how you can get involved here.