The consequences of lack of sleep in children

We know the benefits of regular and sufficiently long sleep in the little ones: consolidation of memory, growth, development of creativity… But this time, a recent study published in Lancet Child & Adolescent Health looked at the long-term consequences of not getting enough sleep in children. It reveals cognitive difficulties (memory, problem solving and decision making), mental problems and a deficit of gray matter in certain areas of the brain.

This study was conducted on more than 8000 children

This is one of the first large studies to look at the consequences of poor sleep in the youngest, with a cohort of more than 8,300 children aged 9 to 10 and followed up over two years. They were divided into 2 groups. One included all those who sleep an average of 9 hours per night. night or more, and the other children who sleep less than 9 hours. In fact, the threshold of 9 hours of sleep per night is considered the minimum required for optimal health for children ages 6 to 12, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The researchers rely on another study conducted on animals and published in Frontiers to establish their hypothesis: “Inadequate sleep would have long-term negative effects on participants’ neuro-cognitive development“. To estimate this effect, the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland studied various factors in each of the children: their possible behavioral problems, their cognitive difficulties, their mental health… They even carried out measurements of their brains, both cerebral structure and functional connections To this end, the researchers are using MRIs, medical records and studies conducted with families to determine the effects of too short nights in children.

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