Not getting enough sleep makes your kids grumpy and foggy. It also affects their mood and behavior, weakens their immune system, and makes them more sensitive to pain.
Now there’s evidence that insufficient sleep is associated with higher blood pressure as well.
A study just published in Pediatrics found a direct relationship between sleep duration and blood pressure measurements in adolescents. The longer the tweens and teens slept at night over a seven-day period, the lower their average blood pressures were, systolic and diastolic. The participants were all screened for obstructive sleep apnea, also associated with high blood pressure, to eliminate that as a possible confounding factor.
Not addressed in this study was the interplay between stress, insomnia, and hypertension. Stress, after all, can interfere with a person’s sleep as well as lead to elevated blood pressure. However, even with this caveat, this study provides yet one more reason to do what you can to help your kids get enough sleep each night.
Dennis Rosen, M.D.
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