The researchers had the parents of 987 children fill out questionnaires about their children's sleep habits each year from the time the children were 5 months old until they were 6 years old. They found that sleep disturbances among very young children (5 to 17 months old) were primarily due to "maladaptive parenting behaviors," such as the mother being present when the child was going to sleep, or feeding the child after he or she woke up. And "co-sleeping" -- when a parent sleeps with a child -- was found to make it harder for a child to fall back asleep after awakening.
"Our findings clarify the long-debated relationship between parental behaviors and childhood sleep disturbances," the authors concluded. "They suggest that co-sleeping and other uncommon parental behaviors have negative consequences for future sleep and are thus maladaptive."
In another study in the journal, Australian researchers found that children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were more likely to have sleep problems than children without the disorder.
"Sleep problems in schoolchildren with ADHD are extremely common and strongly associated with poorer quality of life, daily functioning and school attendance in the child and poorer caregiver mental health and work attendance," wrote the researchers, who were headed by Valerie Sung, of the Centre for Community Child Health in Parkville.
"Implementation of a sleep intervention in children with ADHD could feasibly improve outcomes beyond treatment of ADHD alone. It is possible that such intervention could reduce the need for medication in some children," they added.
A fourth study, led by Alice M. Gregory of the University of London, found that children who get less sleep are more likely to suffer from symptoms of anxiety, depression and agg
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