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Traumatic events may raise effects of poor sleep on kids’ heart health: Study

Traumatic events experienced during childhood between the age of 6 to 17 might increase the negative health effects of too much or too little sleep on children’s cardiovascular health, a new study said on Monday.

The study, published in the journal American Heart Association, surveyed more than 100,000 children in the US and found that more than one-third of them did not get the recommended amount of daily sleep, which was 10-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours, including naps for children age 5 and younger; 9-12 hours each day for children age 6-12; and 8-10 hours for children age 13-18.

In this study, traumatic events included — parents’ divorce, a parent’s death or imprisonment, experiencing violence, living with a person with alcohol or drug dependencies or mental health conditions, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and others.

“Children who are getting too little or too much sleep are likely to continue not having the right amount of sleep in adulthood, and early intervention may be necessary to combat the progressive negative effects that suboptimal sleep may have on cardiovascular and other metabolic processes,” said lead author MinKyoung Song, PhD, R.N., F.N.P., FAHA, an associate professor at the Oregon Health & Sciences University School of Nursing.

Children with more reported adverse childhood experiences were more likely to have too much or too little sleep.

Each additional traumatic event increased by 8 per cent the likelihood that a child was sleeping 1-2 hours less or over one hour more than recommended, or increased by 26 per cent the likelihood that a child was sleeping 2+ hours less than recommended, the study said.

“These findings suggest that traumatic events experienced during childhood could amplify the adverse effects of insufficient or excessive sleep on heart health,” Song said.

“Similarly, parents and caregivers should be aware that inadequate sleep is linked to negative cardiovascular health outcomes,” she added.

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