Poorer Kids Have Poorer Sleep: Study

It could undermine their health, school performance, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, May 2, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to middle-class children, youngsters in low-income families are more likely to have sleep problems, which can affect their health and performance at school, a U.S. study finds.

The study compared the sleeping habits of 64 healthy inner-city Hispanic and black children, ages 4 to 10, to those of middle-class white children.

Parents provided information about their children's amount of sleep, sleep anxiety, night awakenings, night terrors, bedwetting, sleepwalking, sleep-disordered breathing, daytime sleepiness, bedtime resistance, and the time it took to fall asleep.

The incidence of sleep problems was 25 percent higher among low-income children than among middle-class children.

The study was expected to be presented this week at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting, in Boston.

"While these results aren't surprising, they need to be followed up with a study involving a larger number of children, since sleeping problems can have a negative impact on a child's health and may hinder a child's performance at school," study author Anuj Chawla, of Tulane University's School of Medicine in New Orleans, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The (U.S.) National Sleep Foundation has more about children and sleep.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, May 2, 2007
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