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How can sleep problems affect children's health?

Whitney  Roban, PhD
Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
Sleep deprivation is a serious problem in children, as it can affect so many aspects of their daily functioning.  Sleep deprivation has a negative affect on childrens' physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral and cognitive growth and development.  As children grow and attend school, it also has a negative effect on their academic performance and school-related behavior.  Unfortunately, when children don't sleep well, neither do their parents.  Therefore, poor sleep habits in children can affect the whole family.
For children, the consequences of undiagnosed sleep problems can be serious. Complications to their mental and physical health that arise from poor sleep can start early and last well into adulthood. Children with sleep disorders face greater risks of:
  • obesity
  • cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure
  • mental health issues
  • behavior problems and developmental issues
Sleep disorders, including insomnia and sleep apnea, are not just sleep issues for adults. Kids can suffer from these problems as well, with similar effects on short-term daily functioning and on long-term health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.