Home Doctor NewsMental health Sleeping fewer than nine hours night might create major mental difficulties in youngsters: Study

Sleeping fewer than nine hours night might create major mental difficulties in youngsters: Study

by Pragati Singh
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A new study found that obtaining fewer than nine hours of sleep every day causes cognitive impairment, mental issues, and reduced grey matter in brain areas.

According to a new study led by University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers, elementary school-age children who get less than nine hours of sleep per night have significant differences in certain brain regions responsible for memory, intelligence, and well-being compared to those who get the recommended nine to 12 hours of sleep per night.

In those who lacked sleep, such changes were associated with increased mental health issues such as sadness, anxiety, and impulsive conduct. Inadequate sleep has also been connected to memory, problem-solving, and decision-making issues. The findings were published in the journal The American Academy of Sleep Medicine today. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises that children aged 6 to 12 years old sleep 9 to 12 hours each night on a regular basis to support optimal health. There have been no research that have looked at the long-term effects of poor sleep on the neurocognitive development of pre-teens.

The researchers evaluated data from over 8,300 youngsters aged 9 to 10 years who were participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) project to perform the study.

They looked at MRI scans, medical records, and surveys filled out by participants and their parents during enrolment and during a two-year follow-up visit when they were 11 to 12 years old. The ABCD research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the biggest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States.

“We discovered that children who had less than nine hours of sleep per night at the start of the study had less grey matter or smaller volume in certain areas of the brain responsible for attention, memory, and inhibition control compared to those who had healthy sleep habits,” said study co-author Ze Wang, PhD, Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at UMSOM.

“These discrepancies maintained after two years, indicating long-term injury for people who do not receive adequate sleep.”

This is one of the first studies to show the long-term effects of sleep deprivation on neurocognitive development in children. According to Dr. Wang and his colleagues, it also offers strong support for existing sleep guidelines in youngsters.

The research team discovered that individuals in the sufficient sleep group increasingly slept less over two years, which is normal as children enter their adolescent years, but those in the insufficient sleep group’s sleep habits did not alter significantly.

The researchers took into account socioeconomic class, gender, puberty status, and other characteristics that may influence how much a kid sleeps and how the brain and intellect function.

“We sought to match the two groups as closely as possible to help us better understand the long-term consequences of insufficient sleep on the pre-adolescent brain,” Dr. Wang explained. “More research is needed to validate our findings and determine whether any therapies might improve sleep patterns and repair neurological abnormalities.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents instil excellent sleep patterns in their children. Making adequate sleep a family priority, keeping to a regular sleep regimen, promoting physical exercise during the day, limiting screen time, and removing screens totally an hour before bedtime are some of their suggestions.

The researchers took into account socioeconomic class, gender, puberty status, and other characteristics that may influence how much a kid sleeps and how the brain and intellect function.

Also Read: Race discrimination is associated with increased risk of preterm and underweight newborns: Study

“We sought to match the two groups as closely as possible to help us better understand the long-term consequences of insufficient sleep on the pre-adolescent brain,” Dr. Wang explained. “More research is needed to validate our findings and determine whether any therapies might improve sleep patterns and repair neurological abnormalities.”

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