How kids' brains respond to a late night up

2nd Dec 2016

The process of sleep may be involved in the brain 'wiring' in childhood and therefore affect brain maturation. This research shows an increase in sleep need in the posterior brain regions in children.

After staying up to late, both children and adults need a period of deep sleep to recover. The study involved 13 children between ages 5-12 years, measuring the effect of 50% sleep deprivation. 

First to be measured were the children's normal deep sleep patterns, as a control and comparison bench mark. They were then measured again on a night where the researchers had kept the children up well past their bedtime, playing games.

After only getting half a night's worth of sleep, the children showed slow-wave activity towards the back regions of the brain. This suggests that the brain circuitry in these regions may be particularly susceptible to a lack of sleep.

Further research is needed to be done to see if there is any long term effects on early brain development, for now this research concludes that staying up late has a different effect on children's brains to adults.

To read more, please visit Frontiers website

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