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Childhood insomnia leads to adult sleep disorders

Researchers say nearly half of children in a study had insomnia that persisted into adulthood.

New research indicates that children with insomnia are more likely to develop sleep issues as adults.

The study shows that insomnia symptoms remain longer than previously thought and emphasises the significance of early therapies to alleviate sleep issues.

According to experts, sleep disturbances including insomnia are associated with worsening cardiovascular and mental health. However, little is known about how the effects of insomnia change over time.

As stated by the researchers, this is the first long-term cohort study to document the progression of symptoms of childhood insomnia into adolescence and young adulthood. It was published in the journal Pediatrics and partially supported by NHLBI.

A small study followed 502 kids from ages 9 to 24 years. Insomnia symptoms were classified as moderate-to-severe difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep via parent or self-reports at all 3-time points of adult insomnia via self-report in young adulthood.

Objective short-sleep duration was determined via a sleep study in childhood and adolescence. The researchers also found that children with insomnia were more than twice as likely to have insomnia as adults than children with more normal sleeping habits.

The odds of insomnia symptoms worsening into adult insomnia were 2.6-fold and 5.5-fold among short-sleeping children and adolescents, respectively.¬†According to the study’s findings, 43% of children who had symptoms of sleeplessness suffered through puberty and into adulthood. By adolescence, about 27% of patients had symptom remission, but nearly 19% continued to endure a waxing and waning pattern of insomnia into adulthood. Children who did not initially exhibit any symptoms of insomnia were also evaluated. About 15% of these individuals first experienced insomnia symptoms when they transitioned from childhood to adolescent and carried them into adulthood, while another 21% did so in their early years of adulthood.

The key takeaway is that while often insomnia in children does resolve itself 50% of the time, it does not. Researchers have concluded that objective sleep measures may be clinically significant in adolescence.

Childhood insomnia leads to adult sleep disorders
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