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Exposure to Violence Impacts Children’s Sleep Overtime


Exposure to Violence Impacts Children’s Sleep Overtime

(epharmanews)- It is well know that children who suffer from violence, whether direct or indirect, experience sleep disorders. The impact is measurable and affected by the severity of the violence, and the effects can last over time.

According to a study, being presented today at SLEEP 2012, the more severe the violence a child is exposed to, the more disturbed will his/her sleep will be. The nature of the incidence of violence also impacts several aspects of the child’s sleep.

Children who have been victims of violence experience a more disturbed sleep with shorter sleeping periods, unlike those who have only witnessed violence.

“Violence permeates our society, and this work is showing that experiencing even a single violent event as a victim or as a witness may influence sleep behavior in different ways, which in turn may negatively affect a child’s health and functioning,” said James Spilsbury, PhD, the study’s principal investigator.

Children who do not get enough sleep suffer from development and behavior disorders. Sleep deprivation is associated with several serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity and accidents.

Spilsbury and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic Multidisciplinary Research Training Program measured the sleep of 46 children, ages 8 to 16, who were participating in a social service program for children exposed to violence. Ethnicity was mixed, but the children were largely disadvantaged and living in urban settings.

Sleep data were collected for seven days by actigraphy, a monitoring method that uses a patient-worn sensor to measure activity during the day and at night. Follow-up was conducted three months later. In analyzing the results, Spilsbury and associates controlled for such factors as age, sex, family income and exposure to violence in the previous year.

“Even after controlling for the possible effects of exposure to violence in the previous year, we saw that the severity of the more recent event had a measurable, negative influence on a child’s quantity and quality of sleep,” Spilsbury said.


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Prepared by: Laila Nour


Source :

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