Several recent publications have supported the assertion that sleep significantly impacts children’s daytime cognitive and behavioural functioning.
Astill, R. G., Van der Heijden, K. B., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Van Someren, E. J. W. (2012). Sleep, cognition, and behavioral problems in school-age children: A century of research meta-analyzed. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0028204
Astill and colleagues (2012), recently completed a meta-analytic review of studies investigating the associations between sleep, cognition and problematic behaviours among children. Clear positive relationships between sleep duration and multiple complex/higher-order cognitive functions were identified. Moreover, shorter sleep duration was associated with more internalizing and externalizing behaviour problems among children. Recommendations regarding future measurement practices and study designs were identified.
Calhoun, S. L., Fernandez-Mendoza, J., Vgontzas, A. N., Mayes, S. D., Tsaoussoglou, M., Rodriguez-Muñoz, A. & Bixler, E. O. (2012). Learning, Attention/Hyperactivity, and Conduct Problems as Sequelae of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in a General Population Study of Young Children. Sleep, 35, 627-632.
Calhoun and colleagues (2012) have examined the relationship between excessive daytime sleepiness and children’s performance on objective neuro-cognitive tasks, as well as parent reports of learning, attention/hyperactivity and conduct problems. Using a large general population sample of children (N= 508), the researchers found significant negative relationships between parent-reported daytime sleepiness, and neuro- behavioural problems, as well as processing speed and working memory.
Bruni, O., Kohler, M., Novelli, L., Kennedy, D., Lushington, K., Martin, J. Ferri, R. (2012). The role of NREM sleep instability in child cognitive performance. Sleep, 35, 649-656.
On a basic neuro-physiological level, the relation between sleep and cognitive efficiency has been recently investigated by Bruni and colleagues (2012). Specifically, the role of NREM sleep instability, as measured by Cyclic Alternating Pattern (CAP) Analysis, in children’s cognitive performance was examined. Significant positive relationships between children’s cognitive efficiency, and their phase A1 in total sleep, and Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) was found.
Gruber, R., Cassoff, J., Frenette, S., Wiebe, S., & Carrier, J. (2012). Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Lability and Impulsivity. Pediatrics, 130, 1155-1161.
Furthermore, Dr. Gruber and colleagues (2012) have recently examined the impact of experimental sleep extension and restriction on children’s behaviour at school. The results revealed that a modest extension in sleep duration significantly improved children’s alertness and emotional regulation at school, while sleep restriction was associated with a opposite pattern of results.