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Child issues caused by lack of sleep - study

23-03-2009

Problems such as obesity, hyperactivity and poor academic performance in children can be caused by a lack of sleep, according to new research from the University of Montreal. In a study involving children aged between six months to six years old, 25% of the children who had difficulty sleeping longer than six hours developed weight and attention issues.

When children sleep up to ten hours the figure drops to 15%, and down to 10% for those who sleep for eleven hours.

"When we sleep less our stomach secretes more of the hormone that stimulates appetite, and we also produce less of the hormone whose function is to reduce the intake of food," said Professor Jacques Montplaisir, from the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Sleep Disorders Centre at Sacre-Couer Hospital.

The research was based on 1138 children, and as well as sleep patterns assessments the participants were given cognitive performance tests. Of the children who didn't sleep six hours, 41% performed poorly, while of the children who slept between ten and eleven hours, just 21% underperformed on the tests.

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