Sleep problems linked to aggressive behaviors

Sleep problems are linked to aggressive behaviors in a recent study by University of Michigan researchers. This research suggests that sleep-disordered breathing and restlessness during sleep are more frequent in children with conduct and behavior problems. Excessive daytime sleepiness, which is common to many sleep disorders, was also linked to conduct problems. This study of 872 children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 14 revealed an association between sleep disorders and conduct that is statistically significant after controlling for age, sex, hyperactivity and stimulant use.

Children with high scores for sleep-disordered breathing were up to three times more likely than other children to be described by their parents as bullies, constant fighters, destructive, disobedient and cruel. These researchers conclude, “Although these results cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship, assessment for sleep disorders may provide a new treatment opportunity for some aggressive children.”

“Conduct Problems and Symptoms of Sleep Disorders in Children,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 42, Number 2, 2003, pp. 201-208.

Published in ERN June 2003 Volume 16 Number 5

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