Sleep disturbance at any age during childhood is associated with diminished well-being by the time children are 10-11 years old, reveals a recent study conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “Our study shows that although children with persistent sleep problems have the greatest impairments, when it comes to well-being, even those with mild sleep problems experience some psychosocial impairments over time,” says Ariel A Williamson, a psychologist faculty member at the PolicyLab and the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness at CHOP.
The researchers examined data of an Australian birth cohort of 5,000 children. Caregivers reported whether their children had sleep problems at multiple points in time, from birth through 10-11 years age. Children with persistent sleep problems had the greatest impairments across all outcomes except perceptual reasoning skills. Children with less than prescribed sleep or mild increases in sleep problems, also demonstrated psychosocial impairments.