Research shows that hyperactivity in younger buys is due to lack of sleep

New research published in the November 2009 issue of Pediatrics states that hyperactive boys do not get enough sleep, which seemingly could lead to worsening the condition. This study was the first to examine a large sample of children, and one that examines the connection between the lack of sleep and hyperactivity.

Over 2,000 mothers answered annual questionnaires which covered sleep duration and hyperactivity of their offspring for over five years. Scientists from the Université de Montréal, its affiliated Hôpital du Sacré-Cour de Montréal and Sainte Justine University Hospital Research Center, conducted the analysis of the data.

Senior author Jacques Montplaisir, a professor in the Université de Montréal Department of Psychiatry and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Hôpital du Sacré-Cour de Montréal says, “Hyperactivity problems may interfere with night-time sleep. We found that children who didn’t sleep long were generally hyperactive boys who lived under adverse family conditions.” Explaining further she said, “On the other hand, short or fragmented sleep leads to sleepiness, which could manifest as hyperactivity in boys. However, the risk of abbreviated sleep in highly hyperactive children is stronger than the risk of hyperactivity among kids with short sleep duration.” She also noted that children who slept for at least eleven hours had relatively lower hyperactivity scores.

The research team’s findings also showed that more boys than girls with mothers who had low education levels, inadequate family incomes were at a higher risk of having short sleep duration as well as high levels of hyperactivity.

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