Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sleep Vital to Children's Development

This is something I have been telling people all along. A major reason for the problems in schools are students not getting enough sleep then going to school on a sugar high. Proper sleep and diet will go a long way in helping our kids, not only in school but in life as well.


Sleep Vital to Children's Development

By Kate McHugh, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Everyone needs a good night's rest to be ready to take on the day -- especially children.

Research examining the effects of sleep on young children reveals even small sleep loss can have a major impact on a child's cognitive and linguistic functioning. Not developing these skills in childhood can have negative effects on a child's reading and language development and comprehension.

Researchers from the University of Louisville report children not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night were more likely to process speech sounds incorrectly. Thirty-two children between the age 6 and 7 were asked to differentiate between different sounds both phonetically and verbally. The group of children who had an hour less of sleep showed marked deficits in their ability to process these sounds.

"A sleep-deprived child tends to have trouble focusing or concentrating and is in an almost hyperactive state," James Herdegen, M.D., associate professor in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago, told Ivanhoe. "There are some ideas that we cycle in and out of different sleep stages for the purpose of recalling information we have experienced within the previous 24 hours," so any interference with that sleep cycle could have detrimental impacts on a child's cognitive development, he said.

Dr. Herdegen recommends children in preschool get 11 hours to 13 hours of sleep each night, and school-aged children get between 10 hours and 11 hours.

This article was reported by, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on:

SOURCE: Ivanhoe interview with James Herdegen, M.D.; presented at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis, Minn.. June 9 to June 14, 2007

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