Hearts in Danger: Kids and Insomnia

Hearts in Danger: Kids and Insomnia

Reported March 05, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newsire) — Insomnia or shorter sleep durations in children may impair the rhythm of their hearts.

In a study done involving 612 elementary school children with an average age of 9, researchers examined the children overnight in a sleep laboratory to measure sleep duration, trouble falling asleep, the number of wake-ups and problems going back to sleep. The cardiac autonomic modulation of the children was also measured during sleep.

Research showed that symptoms of insomnia were consistently associated with impaired heart variability, which is the beat-to-beat variation of the heart. The study reported that insomnia had damaged the cardiac autonomic modulation, shifting the heartbeat toward a more sympathetic or excited rhythm. Children with a longer duration of sleep had a healthier, slower heart rate.



Duanpin Liao, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study and professor of epidemiology at Penn State University College of Medicine, suggests parents encourage their children to have healthier and more regular bedtime habits.

SOURCE: American Heart Association’s 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, March 4, 2010