(NaturalPath) According to a study out of the University of Houston, funded by the National Institutes for Mental Health and published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, children who experience inadequate or disrupted sleep are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders later in life. This study particularly looks at how exactly inadequate sleep in childhood produces an elevated risk for emotional disorders in later years.
Lack of sleep can lead to more serious consequences that just irritability, difficulty concentrating and impatience. The main author notes that children who experience inadequate or disrupted sleep are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders later in life.
“In particular, we are interested in understanding how children appraise, express, regulate and later recall emotional experiences, both when sleep is adequate and when it is adequate,” she said. “We focus on childhood, because similar to problems with anxiety and depression, sleep habits and patterns develop early in life and can be enduring.”
To properly evaluate these children, the researchers temporarily restricted the sleep in 50 pre-adolescent children between the ages of seven and 11.
Interestingly, the results were that inadequate sleep impacts children’s emotional health not only be creating more negative emotions, but also by altering positive emotional experiences. For instance the participants found less pleasure from positive things, just after two nights of poor sleep.
“Healthy sleep is critical for children’s psychological well-being,” she said. “Continually experiencing inadequate sleep can eventually lead to depression, anxiety and other types of emotional problems. Parents, therefore, need to think about sleep as an essential component of overall health in the same way they do nutrition, dental hygiene and physical activity.”
So make sure your children are getting enough sleep.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.