Childhood Insomnia Can Create Problems in Adulthood: Study

Childhood Insomnia Can Create Problems in Adulthood: Study

Childhood Insomnia

According to the result of a new study, conducted with participants from the Penn State Child Cohort, the symptoms of persistent insomnia start to arise in childhood and continue through young adulthood. This one is the first study to find out how childhood insomnia symptoms affect the long run and how the problem differs between racial and ethnic minority groups.

The researchers studied 519 participants from the Penn State Child Cohort. School-age children (5-12 years), adolescents, and young adults were selected as participants. In the cohort, each time point represents different maturational and development stages. At each stage, participants themselves or the parents of the participants (in the case of children) reported if there was any difficulty in falling or staying asleep. Also, an in-lab sleep study was conducted to diagnose other sleep disorders.

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The findings showed “23.3% of participants had persistent insomnia symptoms, with symptoms present at all three-time points, and 16.8% developed insomnia symptoms in young adulthood”. The study found that Black children were 2.6 times more likely than white children and teens to experience insomnia, which is a very interesting result.

Senior author of the study, Professor Julio Fernandez-Mendoza said “Insomnia is a public health problem” in the journal SLEEP. “We’ve identified that more people than we thought have childhood-onset insomnia where symptoms start in childhood and remain chronic through young adulthood ”, he added. The findings showed how early detection and treatment of insomnia symptoms in children can prevent long-term health consequences. Insomnia refers to a sleep disorder. In this condition, people may feel difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep and sometimes waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep. As a result, one may still feel tired when they wake up. Insomnia can also affect mood and energy.

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Due to lack of sleep, one can suffer from less productivity throughout the day and slowed reaction time while driving which may increase the risk of an accident. In the long run, it heightens the chance of developing high blood pressure and heart disease also it may worsen a previously existing disease. The reasons for insomnia include mental health disorders, medicines, high stress, substance use, poor sleep habits, eating too much, aging, and disruptive lifestyles.

Most of the time, childhood insomnia is not considered a serious problem as some children and teens simply have trouble sleeping or do not want to maintain regular, bedtime because of their delayed internal clocks. They like to be night owls and wake up late in the morning. However, childhood onset of insomnia predicts the risks of future health problems. The Researchers from Penn State suggested, “Those risks may be higher for Black and Hispanic/Latino children compared to non-Hispanic white children because disparities in sleep patterns begin at a young age”


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