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Childhood Hyperactivity Linked to Shortened Nighttime Sleep

Study suggests that children with shortened nighttime sleep may be prone to hyperactivity

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are not able to sleep through the night are more likely to be hyperactive, with the risk especially high for boys with adverse family living conditions, according to a study published online Oct. 19 in Pediatrics.

Evelyne Touchette, Ph.D., of the University of Montreal, and colleagues administered an annual questionnaire to the mothers of 2,057 children from 1.5 to 5 years of age to elicit information about their children's sleep periods and hyperactivity. The researchers analyzed the responses to identify associations between sleep and hyperactivity, including what child, maternal, family factors, and parenting practices in early childhood were associated with shortened sleep and hyperactivity.

The researchers found a significant association between shortened sleep and hyperactivity. There was a high probability that a hyperactive child would have short nighttime sleep (odds ratio, 5.1), and high probability that a short-duration sleeper would score high for hyperactivity (odds ratio, 4.2). Risk factors for short nighttime sleep and hyperactivity included having a low household income, being male, having a mother with low education, and being comforted outside their own bed after waking up at night at 1.5 years of age.

"The risk of short nighttime sleep duration in highly hyperactive children is greater than the risk of high hyperactivity scores in short sleepers," the authors conclude. "Preventive interventions that target boys living in adverse familial conditions could be used to address these concomitant behavioral problems."

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