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Poor Sleep In Children Leads To Depression, Emotional Disorders, New Study Says

First Posted: Jul 26, 2016 07:20 AM EDT
Poor Sleep In Children Leads To Emotional Disorders, New Study Says
A new study has found that poor sleep in children leads to emotional disorders.
(Photo : Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

A new study has found that children who do not get adequate sleep at night are at high risk of developing emotional disorders later in life.

According to Candice Alfano, lead author of the study, a healthy sleep is very important for a child's psychological and emotional well-being, reported ScienceAlert.

She added that children who experience continued poor sleep tend to suffer from depression, anxiety disorder and other emotional problems eventually. Alfano is a clinical psychologist and associate psychology professor at the University of Houston.

The research team imposed temporary sleep restrictions in 50 pre-adolescent children aged seven to 11 to find out if there's a link between sleep deprivation and emotional health. The study found that lack of sleep in children triggered negative emotions in them and also altered their positive emotional experiences.

"Sleep deprivation can create a 'perfect storm' for experiencing negative emotions and consequences," said Alfano, reported Consumer Affairs.

The researchers found that children who experienced poor sleep for just two days found less pleasure in doing things which are usually considered as positive. In fact, those children reacted less to positive things and became less likely to recall details about their fun and positive experiences.

Taking note of the study results, Alfano has called out parents to consider sleep as crucial as nutrition, dental hygiene and physical activity for their children's overall health.

She added that parents should note signs of inadequate sleep in children, which may include trouble waking up in the morning or sleepiness during the day. This can result from late bedtimes, inconsistent sleep schedules, and non-restful sleep.

The research team from the Sleep and Anxiety Centre of Houston are hoping to conduct more longitudinal studies to measure effects of poor sleep over time as children grow older. The research is being funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the US.

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