WESTCHESTER, Ill. The first investigation of developmental sleep duration patterns throughout childhood shows that children just beginning school and who get little sleep are more likely to have behavioral and cognitive problems in the classroom, according to a study published in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, authored by Jacques Montplaisir, MD, of the Sleep Disorders Center at Sacre-Coeur Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, focused on 1,492 children, who were studied annually from five months of age to six years. A questionnaire, filled out by the childrens mothers, measured each childs hyperactivity-impulsivity (HI), inattention and daytime sleepiness scores for each of those years.
Four developmental sleep duration patterns were identified in the study: short persistent (six percent), composed of children sleeping less than 10 hours per night until the age of 6 years; short increasing (4.8 percent), composed of children who slept fewer hours in early childhood but whose sleep duration increased around 41 months of age; 10-hour persistent (50.3 percent), composed of children who slept persistently approximately 10 hours per night; and 11-hour persistent (38.9 percent), composed of children who slept persistently around 11 hours each night.
According to Dr. Montplaisir, the study found no difference in sleep duration between weekdays and weekends, indicating that children were not compensating on the weekend for sleep loss occurring during the week, even in the group of short persistent sleepers. Short increasing sleepers, who had evidence of a nocturnal sleep consolidation problem before the age of 41 months, did not compensate their short nighttime sleep duration by more daytime sleep at 29 months, added Dr. Montplaisir.
The results indicate that a modest but chronic reduction of just one hour of sleep nightly in early childhood can affect the childs cognitive performance at school entry. Sho
|Contact: Jim Arcuri|
American Academy of Sleep Medicine