by A. Grano on January 19th, 2012 at 7:00 am
While many parents are familiar with the studies showing a strong correlation between poor sleep habits and lower grades, a new study published in the journal Sleep is showing yet another reason why kids need to establish healthy sleep routines.
The study, led by researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson, found that children with type 1 diabetes may have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar due to poor sleep, including abnormalities like lighter sleep and sleep apnea. The study participants with diabetes showed higher blood sugar levels compared to their peers without the condition, and almost a third of the children had sleep apnea, a condition previously associated with type 2 diabetes in adults. The report also noted the correlation between these sleep deficits and performance in school.
While a proper diagnosis and evaluation by a professional should be made, parents can be watchful of symptoms of sleep apnea in children, which may include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Periods of silence (not breathing) followed by gasps
- Falling asleep during the day and at inappropriate times
- Morning headaches
- Trouble concentrating and limited attention
- Recent weight gain
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Mood or behavior changes
For children without sleep apnea that have difficulty getting to sleep or experiencing restful sleep, making a few lifestyle changes may be all that is needed to help establish healthy sleep routines.
Encouraging children to engage in regular exercise during the day, creating a soothing and relaxing bedtime environment, and limiting stimulating activities such as video games and TV before bed can help.
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