Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
100
Does Impaired Sleep in Children Cause Mental Health Problems in Children? (#2 of 2)
October 10, 2022

Found in age groups

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 100Does Impaired Sleep in Children Cause Mental Health Problems in Children? (#2 of 2)

I reviewed the literature to answer this question and found 35 relevant published studies. Here are my conclusions with some examples of the studies.

Conclusions

4. Some studies show a dose-response relationship: The worse the sleep issue, the greater the mental health problem. Blog Posts 7578.

  • Among 315 children, 2-6 years, they were followed over 15 months. Night sleep duration at baseline predicted changes in measurements in hyperactivity/inattention, conduct problems, peer relationships, and prosocial behavior.

The shorter the night sleep duration, the more mental health problems occurred. Also, this study showed that measurements of emotional and behavioral problems at baseline did not predict sleep durations 15 months later. Additionally, this study suggests that when parents help their children sleep better it might prevent the development of mental health problems because: Compared with children who decreased or had no change in night sleep duration over the 15-month observation period, those children who increased their night sleep duration had a concurrent decrease in measurements of hyperactivity/inattention, conduct problems, better peer relationships, and more prosocial behaviors. This study suggests that when parents help their child sleep better future potential difficulties can be prevented.

  • Children with nonregular bedtimes at ages 3, 5, and 7 years had more behavioral difficulties at 7 years.

The effect of nonregular bedtimes was cumulative-the more years of nonregular bedtimes, the worse the behavior. However, when children changed from nonregular to regular bedtimes, they showed improvements in their behavior. This study suggests that when parents help their child sleep better future potential behavioral difficulties can be prevented.

5. A few studies suggest that sleep disruptions at an early age interferes with brain maturational processes that later might be associated with mental health problems. Blog Posts 5051 and 7273.

  • Children with more sleep problems at 2 years had smaller brain grey matter volumes and thinner prefrontal cortex at 7 years.  
  • Children with more sleep problems at 1.5, 2, and 5 years had less brain white mater microstructure integrity at 10 years.

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