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Children's Sleep Disruptions Lead to Range of Problems

Disrupted sleep linked to mood disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Short or disrupted sleep during infancy and childhood may be associated with a range of problems including mood and behavioral disorders in young adulthood, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as maladaptive parental behaviors, according to three studies published in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

In one study, Alice M. Gregory, Ph.D., of the University of London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied 2,076 children whose sleep was assessed five times between ages 4 and 19. The researchers found that any parental reports of short sleep were predictive of self-reported mood and behavior problems when the subjects were aged 18 to 32, including higher scores on the Anxious/Depressed and Aggressive Behavior scales (odds ratios, 1.43 and 1.51, respectively).

In a second study, Allan Hvolby, M.D., of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and colleagues studied 206 children aged 5 to 11, including 45 with a diagnosis of ADHD, 64 with other psychiatric diagnoses and 97 healthy controls. They found that children with ADHD had a significantly longer average sleep onset latency (26.3 minutes) compared to those with other psychiatric diagnoses and healthy controls (18.6 minutes and 13.5 minutes, respectively).

In a third study, Valerie Simard, of the Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues conducted annual assessments of 987 children from 5 months of age through 6 years. The researchers found that sleep disturbances at ages 5 months to 17 months predicted maladaptive parental behaviors at ages 29 months to 41 months, such as mothers being present when children fall asleep or giving children food or drink after they awaken. "Our findings clarify the long-debated relationship between parental behaviors and childhood sleep disturbances. They suggest that co-sleeping and other uncommon parental behaviors have negative consequences for future sleep and are thus maladaptive," the authors conclude.

Abstract - Gregory
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Abstract - Hvolby
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Abstract - Simard
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