Lack of sleep bad for children's mental health: Study

The hours of sleep children manage to get significantly determines their vulnerability towards depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and poor cognitive performance. Sleep states are active processes that support reorganisation of brain circuitry. This makes sleep especially important for children, whose brains are developing and reorganizing rapidly. In a study by researchers from the University of Warwick -- recently published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry -- cases of 11,000 children aged between 9 and 11 years from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development dataset were analyzed to find out the relationship between sleep duration and brain structure. Measures of depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior and poor cognitive performance in the children were associated with shorter sleep duration. Moreover, the depressive problems were associated with short sleep duration one year later. The reduced brain volume of areas such as orbitofrontal cortex, prefrontal, and temporal cortex, precuneus, and supramarginal gyrus was found to be associated with the shorter sleep duration.