School-aged children who got less than nine hours of sleep per night showed significant differences in certain brain regions responsible for memory, intelligence and well-being compared to children who got the recommended nine hours of sleep according to Sleep 12 hours a night, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). Among sleep-deprived people, this difference was associated with greater mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and impulsive behavior. Sleep deprivation is also associated with cognitive difficulties with memory, problem solving, and decision-making. The findings were published today in the
Lancet Journal of Child and Adolescent Health .
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children ages 6 to 12 get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis to promote best health. To date, no studies have examined the long-term effects of sleep deprivation on neurocognitive development in adolescents.
To conduct this study, researchers examined data collected from more than 8,300 children aged 9 to 10 , the children participated in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. They examined MRI images, medical records and surveys completed by participants and their parents at enrollment and at two-year follow-up at ages 11 to 12. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the ABCD study is the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States
“We found that at the start of the study, children who slept less than nine hours a night had less gray matter, or volume, in certain brain regions responsible for attention, memory, and inhibition than those with healthy sleep habits,” the study said. said corresponding author Ze Wang, Ph.D., professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at UMSOM. “These differences persisted two years later, a worrying finding that suggests long-term harm in people who don’t get enough sleep.”
This is one of the first findings to demonstrate the potential long-term effects of sleep deprivation on neurocognitive development in children. It also provides substantial support for current sleep recommendations for children, according to Dr. Wang and colleagues.
At follow-up assessments, the team found that participants in the sleep-deprived group tended to get progressively less sleep. For two years, which is normal as children enter teenage years, the sleep patterns of participants in the sleep-deprived group did not change much. The researchers controlled for socioeconomic status, gender, puberty status, and other factors that may affect children’s sleep duration and affect brain and cognition.
“We tried to match the two groups as closely as possible to help us get a more complete picture Long-term effects of too little sleep on the prepubertal brain,” said Dr. Wang. “More research is needed to confirm our findings and to see if any interventions can improve sleep habits and reverse neurological deficits.” The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to develop good sleep habits in their children. Their recommendations include making getting enough sleep a top priority for families, sticking to regular sleep habits, encouraging physical activity during the day, limiting screen time and eliminating screens entirely an hour before bed.
Dr. Fan Nils Yang, a postdoc in Dr. Wang’s lab, is a co-author of the study. Dr. Weizhen Xie, a researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is also a co-author of the study. UMSOM faculty members Thomas Ernst, MD, and Linda Chang, MD, MS, were co-principal investigators of the Baltimore-area ABCD study but were not involved in the data analysis for the new study.
“This is an important finding that points to the need for long-term studies of the developing child’s brain. Importance,” E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA. “During the hectic childhood days of homework and extracurricular activities, sleep was often neglected. Now we’re seeing how detrimental this can be to a child’s development.”
More information: Sleep-deprived children may adversely affect brain and cognitive development over time, The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health (2022). DOI: 10.1016/S2352-4642(22)00188-2
Citation : Sleep deprivation may adversely affect brain and cognitive development in children, This effect persists over time (July 29, 2022) Retrieved August 28, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-children-lack-detrimental-impact -brain.html
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