Washington: A study has found that short sleep duration may contribute to the development or worsening of hyperactivity and inattention during early childhood.
The research showed that less sleep in preschool-age children significantly predicted worse parent-reported hyperactivity and inattention at kindergarten.
In contrast, hyperactivity and inattention at preschool did not predict sleep duration at kindergarten. The sample consisted of approximately 6,860 children, and analyses controlled for gender, ethnicity and family income.
“Children who were reported to sleep less in preschool were rated by their parents as more hyperactive and less attentive compared to their peers at kindergarten,” lead author Erika Gaylor, PhD, senior researcher for SRI International, an independent, non-profit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif., said.
“These findings suggest that some children who are not getting adequate sleep may be at risk for developing behavioural problems manifested by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and problems sitting still and paying attention,” she said.
According to the authors, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is not generally diagnosed until the school-age years. However, the onset of developmentally inappropriate inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity is often much younger.
Sleep problems, particularly difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, are frequently reported in children and adolescents with ADHD. However, the direction of causation, if any, has been difficult to determine.
The analyses used data from the preschool and kindergarten waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort.