October 16, 2012: A group of Canadian researchers, led by Dr. Reut Gruber , at left, of the Attention, Behavior and Sleep Lab at Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Verdun, Quebec, set out to determine if a small increase in the amount of sleep a child gets in one night would make a difference in his/her behavior at school the next day. It did. It made a remarkable difference -- and, conversely, a decrease in sleep the night before produced problems.
Published on-line in Pediatrics yesterday, the study, "Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Liability and Impulsivity," the study found:
... (1) a cumulative extension of sleep duration of 27.36 minutes was associated with detectable improvement in Conners’ Global Index–derived emotional lability and restless-impulsive behavior scores of children in school and a significant reduction in reported daytime sleepiness; and (2) a cumulative restriction of sleep of 54.04 minutes was associated with detectable deterioration on such measures.
[The methods of research were based on] a randomized parallel group study to determine the impact of an experimental sleep extension (addition of 1 hour of sleep relative to baseline habitual sleep duration on weekdays) and experimental sleep restriction (elimination of 1 hour of sleep relative to baseline habitual sleep duration on weekdays) on child behavior in school. The primary outcome measures were scores on the Conners’ Global Index Scale, as determined by teachers blinded to sleep status of the participants. A sample of 34 typically developing children aged 7 to 11 years with no reported sleep problems and no behavioral, medical, or academic issues participated in the study.
Research tip from Sally Dolfini.