Are your kids getting their sleep? New study suggests late habits damaging

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
New guidelines for how much sleep children need

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Are your children getting their eight hours of sleep? Staying up late could be more damaging than previously thought.

A new study, conducted by the University Hospital of Zurich, is pulling back the veil on how damaging late-night sleeping can be for brain development in children.

Experts know sleeplessness damages the front part of adult brains. But researchers with the study found that kids with too little or disrupted sleep may suffer damage to all parts of the brain.

Scientists have touted the 8-hour rule as necessary to avoid damage to the front part of the brain, responsible for memory. But this new study suggests sleep deprivation in children can result in significant damage to the posterior brain regions - responsible for planned movements, spatial reasoning, and attention.

Salome Kurth is the first author of the study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and a researcher at the University Hospital of Zurich

"The process of sleep may be involved in brain 'wiring,'" Kurth said, "in childhood and thus affect brain maturation."

He admonishes the effects of sleep deprivation will not be immediate but instead have long-term consequences.

"This research shows an increase in sleep need in posterior brain regions in children," Kurth said.