Poor Sleep During Childhood Can Lead To An Increased Risk Of Psychosis As An Adult

Gorodenkoff - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Poor sleep during childhood doesn’t just affect behavior throughout the day and contribute to learning problems—it may also lead to an increased risk of psychosis in adulthood, per a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. and the University of Melbourne in Australia have determined that children who consistently slept fewer hours were more than twice as likely to develop a psychotic disorder upon reaching early adulthood. The link is partly explained by changes in inflammation.

Dr. Isabel Morales-Muñoz, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Birmingham and the lead author of the study, said that it’s normal for kids to struggle with sleep from time to time, but when it becomes a chronic issue, they are more likely to develop psychiatric illnesses as adults.

The research team examined data from 12,394 children, who ranged in age from six months to seven years, and 3,889 adults aged 24.

They found that children who regularly slept fewer hours between six months and seven years were twice as likely to develop a psychotic disorder by the time they were 24. In addition, they were almost four times as likely to experience a psychotic episode.

The three main symptoms that are usually associated with a psychotic episode are hallucinations, delusions, and confused/disturbed thoughts.

Sometimes, these can be symptoms of conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression.

The reasoning behind the link between insufficient sleep in childhood and psychosis in adulthood is currently unclear.

Poor sleep is known to negatively impact the immune system, so that may play a part. The team tested levels of inflammation in blood samples in nine-year-olds. Results showed that a weakened immune system could be partially responsible.

Gorodenkoff – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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