Irregular sleep in childhood can lead to mental health disorders later in life, says new study
A new study conducted by researchers at University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology highlights how sleeping patterns in childhood can affect a person as an adult. In fact, irregular sleeping patterns during childhood can lead to mental health problems like Borderline Personality Disorder and pyschosis later on in life. Read on to know more about the study.
Over the years, studies have highlighted the importance of sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for not just your physical, but mental health too. A study recently published in journal JAMA Psychiatry highlights that sleep problems in early childhood can lead to psychosis or even Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) during adulthood. The study was conducted by researchers at University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology.
Why sleep matters
Sleep is essential for healthy functioning of the body. Some of the major benefits include reduced stress, lower blood pressure and gain immunity, improving memory and also enhancing the mood.
Anate A, a psychologist from Bengaluru says, “Sleep has some surprising benefits on children and adults alike. We all know that going without sleep can cause so much trouble for a person. There are no hard and fast rules to how much time a child must sleep, but it must be at least 12 hours in the night. Lack of sleep can cause so many unwanted physical and mental health conditions, in both childhood and adulthood”.
Deprivation of sleep can also lead to heart problems, dementia and obesity which are now commonly seen amongst youngsters!
Importance of the new study
The study was conducted by researchers at University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology. Over 14,000 children born at Avon in England during the early nineties were part of the study. They were followed for over 13 years to know how sleep patterns affect their mental health. The questionnaires provided to mothers mostly had questions on factors like housing, physical and mental well-being, environmental exposure and of course parenting. The study also had questions on sleep routines, duration and awakening frequency of the child.
In the journal, Steven Marhawa, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham says, “We know that adolescence is a key developmental period to study the onset of many mental disorders, including psychosis or BPD. This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage. Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors—and it’s one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it’s important that we understand these links”.
Children who slept less during nighttime and had late bedtimes were prone to BPD, especially during their teenage years.
This new study clearly highlights importance of sleep during childhood. According to experts, at least 40 percent of the childhood is spent sleeping which helps in cognitive growth and development. When the child does not receive sufficient sleep or has irregular sleeping patterns, it affects them in adulthood. Mostly, affecting their mental health.
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