The Effects of Lack of Sleep on Children's Health

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The Effects of Lack of Sleep on Children's Health
School-aged children need at least nine hours of sleep each night. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Getting enough sleep is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle no matter if it is an adult or a child. However, in a child's life sleep can be even more important to his growing body, creativity and to his success in school.

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Decrease in Mental Function

Getting enough sleep allows children to react more quickly to situations, have a more developed memory, learn more effectively and solve problems, according to Children's Hospital of Michigan. A child's lack of sleep could create an inability to concentrate in school and a struggle with creativity in the classroom states the Douglas Institute. It could also impact a child's overall behaviour, such as cognitive problems or hyperactivity both at school and at home because less sleep causes irritability. According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies have shown that teenagers who get less sleep than other classmates will see a drop in their grades.

The Effects of Lack of Sleep on Children's Health
Lack of sleep can cause children to not pay attention in school. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Weight Problems

Researchers have found that children who do not get enough sleep are more at risk for weight issues and even obesity says Health Nutrition and Fitness. According to the Family Lifestyle, Activity, Movement and Eating study, those children who slept less had a greater chance of becoming overweight by the time they reached 7-years-old. However, a child's Body Mass Index (BMI) lowered by about a half of point for every extra hour of sleep she got every night. The risk of weight issues also decreased by about 61-per cent. It is unclear what the connection is between sleep and weight, but many other studies have confirmed that the less sleep a child gets, the greater the risk of weight issues.

The Effects of Lack of Sleep on Children's Health
Children who are more tired will be at greater risk to make unhealthy decisions about food. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Drug and Alcohol Use

A study published in an April 2004 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research focused on the increase of likelihood a preschool boy who had difficulty sleeping was to use drugs and alcohol later in life. A connection was found between the drug use and the lack of sleep as a child. This was after other family and personal issues were considered, including alcoholism from the parents and depression. The connection in adults is already known and studies are now showing that it could be a sign of long-term problems as well in children.

The Effects of Lack of Sleep on Children's Health
Drinking alcohol can act as a stimulate, causing further sleep problems. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Skin

Believe it or not, teenagers who do not get enough sleep can be more at risk for pimples or other skin-related problems says the National Sleep Foundation. These skin problems can be a result of eating less healthy food options while sleepy. Do not eat or drink right before bedtime and keep the room dark and quiet to ensure the best night's sleep. Good skin care is also helpful in avoiding blemishes. Children need to thoroughly clean their face before going to bed to remove any make-up, residue from sweat or oil from the skin prior to sleeping.

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