Study Links Poor Sleep, Behavior Problems in Kids

Study Links Poor Sleep, Behavior Problems in Kids

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Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine surveyed the parents of more than 11,000 kids with sleep disordered breathing.

Doctors asked the parents to track their kids' snoring, mouth breathing and sleep apnea from six months to about six years of age.

Cleveland Clinic psychologist Joe Austerman didn't take part in the study, but said the results show a connection between poor sleep and behavior problems down the road.

"Most notably what they looked for were children that were mouth breathers, children that snored and children that had obstructive sleep apnea, and they highly correlated that with hyper activity, poorer ability to plan or executive functioning and emotional problems," he explained.

The study found that by four years of age, kids with sleep disordered breathing are 20 to 60 percent more likely to show behavioral difficulties. By age seven, kids are 40 to 100 percent more likely to show behavior problems.

Researchers say symptoms for sleep disordered breathing may require attention as early as the first year of life.

Austerman said that the findings underscore the importance of sleep for children.

"For adults, when you have a bad night's sleep, you don't function well the next day. This is true for children and adolescents. When they don't sleep well, they do poorer in school. This may translate to poorer self-esteem or poorer control of their behaviors. So, I think it's a very simple message and something that intuitively we know, but this research now backs that up scientifically that sleep is very important for kids," he remarked.

Not sure if your child is getting enough rest. Click here to see recommended sleep amounts for kids by age group.

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