Urgent warning to parents whose kids struggle to sleep | The Sun

KIDS who get less than nine hours sleep a night may experience issues with their brain, parents have been warned.

This, medics claim, could have an impact on their memory and intelligence.


The NHS states that children aged 3-5 years should get 11-13 hours sleep a night, with 5-9 year-olds needing 10-11 hours.

Kids aged 10-14 will need between 9 and 9.75 hours kip.

Experts at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) said those not getting enough sleep were likely to experience issues such as anxiety, impulsive behaviours and depression.

In those who lacked snooze, there was also a link to cognitive difficulties with memory, problem solving and decision making.

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Author of the study,  Ze Wang, PhD, professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at UMSOM said there could be long lasting issues for these children.

Prof Wang said: "We found that children who had insufficient sleep, less than nine hours per night, at the beginning 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 with healthy sleep habits.

“These differences persisted after two years, a concerning finding that suggests long term harm for those who do not get enough sleep.”

Writing in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, the experts said they looked at data on over 8,300 kids aged between 9 and 10 years-old.

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They examined MRI images, medical records and surveys completed by parents and children over a two year period.

Medics then revisited the data when the children were 11 to 12-years-old.

The follow up assessments revealed that those who had sufficient sleep over two years tended to sleep less as time went on.

This, the medics said is completely normal for children as they get older.

However, the sleep patterns in the group of kids in the insufficient group didn't change much over the same time period.

Dr Wang added: "We tried to match the two groups as closely as possible to help us more fully understand the long-term impact on too little sleep on the pre-adolescent brain.

“Additional studies are needed to confirm our finding and to see whether any interventions can improve sleep habits and reverse the neurological deficits.”

In order to help your child sleep, experts at the American Academy of Paediatrics say parents should promote good sleep habits it their children.

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This includes making it a priority for the whole family and sticking with a regular routine.

They also state that parents should limit screen time, and eliminate screens completely an hour before bed.

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