The brain responses of those children who don’t get enough sleep can accurately predict the impact sleep loss has on their ability to pay attention during the course of a day, according to a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
Brian Millis, of the University of Louisville, combined behavioral and P300 waveform information (a component of the human brain wave associated with attention control) from children between the ages of four and eight who experienced a minor sleep reduction from their baseline amount of sleep for seven consecutive nights. Behavioral attention information was collected using the NEPSY Visual Attention subtest. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were then recorded after one week of baseline sleep and after a second week of one-hour sleep restriction using a Geodesic Sensor Net. Actigraphy recordings verified sleep times during both weeks.
According to the results, the ERPs accounted for 44 percent of the total variance in predicting NEPSY Visual Attention scores after the children’s sleep was reduced for one week.
"These data are interpreted to suggest that neutral based risk factors can signal the cognitive resilience of individuals in handling subsequent sleep loss," said Millis.
Experts recommend that children in pre-school sleep between 11-13 hours a night, and school-aged children between 10-11 hours of sleep a night.
Your child should follow these steps to get a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night’s sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- The bedroom should be quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.