(dailyRx News) Early bedtimes are a must for preschoolers. They should really have their heads on the pillows by 8:00 PM. Lack of sleep early on could lead to learning difficulties once the bell rings for school to begin.
A recent study showed a direct relationship between sleep for preschoolers and symptoms of inattention disorder, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Lead author Erika Gaylor, PhD, senior researcher for SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif. reports that children who slept less in preschool were rated by their parents as more hyper and less attentive than their peers when they went to kindergarten.
The findings suggest that some children who are not getting enough sleep may be at risk for developing behavioral problems like impulsivity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to Gaylor and her team, ADHD is not usually diagnosed until the school-age years. However, the traits attributed to ADHD including hyperactivity, impulsivity and inappropriate inattention begin in the preschool years. Children and adolescents with ADHD frequently have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. The reason for this has not been determined.
This analysis study used data from the preschool and kindergarten portion of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort. Total nighttime sleep duration was calculated using parent-reported bedtimes and wake times, which were obtained via interview at both preschool and kindergarden time points.
Parents also rated their children's behavior on brief measures of attention/task persistence and hyperactivity/impulsivity.
The research was presented at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.