Sleep Problems Associated with Behavioral Difficulties in Children
Posted Oct 03 2008 12:52pm
This article reviews recent research into the relationship between insomnia (and other sleep problems) and behavioral problems, in children. According to the article, the researchers assessed the children based on weight, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), other sleep-related difficulties, as well as their behavior. The study determined the additional sleep disorder, such as insomnia, was the greatest predictor of behavioral difficulties:
“Somewhat surprisingly, the strongest predictor of adverse behavioral outcomes and CBCL scores was the presence of at least one additional sleep diagnosis, especially insomnia - not the measure of SDB disease severity, which researchers thought would play a more significant role.”
However, the authors cautioned against interpreting the results to mean SDBs did not have an impact. It may just be the impact is not quite as strong as the other factor. Weight also played a factor, with the largest difference between weight groups on measures of behavioral conduct being between the overweight versus average-weighted children.
Overall, the results indicate less sleep equates with more behavioral difficulties. To me, this isn’t surprising at all. If you’ve read this blog, you’ve seen numerous posts where I suggest how you sleep is an effective rough estimate of your overall functioning. In children, it makes complete sense that difficulties in functioning will manifest as conduct-related problems. What I’d like to do at some point is to examine the literature on treatment of sleep-related problems in children. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave me a comment!