BOSTON (CBS) — A new study reveals that preschoolers who don’t get enough sleep could suffer mentally and emotionally.
According to HealthDay, the study finds that the children who get too little sleep have trouble controlling their emotions, processing information and have issues with paying attention. Researchers also found by the time the children are 7, they have decreased mental and emotional functioning.
Dr. Elsie Taveras, the lead researcher of the study and the chief of general pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, told HealthDay that the children exhibited “poorer ability to pay attention, poorer emotional control, poorer executive function in general, and more behavioral problems.”
“If you think about it, these are the basic functions of a child’s life. It really has implications on their ability to perform at school and home, and in relationships with their peers,” she continued.
The study was part of data from Project Viva – an investigation that involved a group of children recruited for the research before birth. The project had 1,046 mothers fill out questionnaires, which included how much sleep their children usually got.
When the kids turned 7, the mothers and the children’s teachers filled out another questionnaire to asses each child’s “executive function,” which includes attention and reasoning.
The researchers told HealthDay that the reports revealed similarities between poor functioning and the children not getting enough sleep from age 3 onward.
Taveras said kids aged 3 to 4 usually need 11 hours of sleep on a daily basis.
The study was published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.