Sleep Deprivation

How Sleep Deprivation Is Different In Children & Adults


Low quality of sleep is linked with increased likelihood of being impacted by mental disorders. A study conducted by Homework Help discovered that low quality sleep has implications for mental health.

According to Krystal, Thakur, and Roth (2008), early studies viewed poor sleep quality as a symptom of psychiatric disorders. With time, they came to understand the bi-directional relationship between poor quality sleep and mental disorders. For this reason, health practitioners came to appreciate that treating mental disorders causes better sleep quality as some psychiatric conditions lead to poor sleep quality.

Also, health practitioners also came to realize that improving the quality of sleep results in better outcomes in the treatment of mental disorders.

Sleep Deprivation In Children

Children who do not get adequate sleep exhibit symptoms similar to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is associated with lack of attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Similarly, children who lack good quality sleep also present similar symptoms. Also, DHD is characterized by inattention and forgetfulness.

It is estimated that between 2% and 13% of children and adolescents have ADHD. Due to the symptoms presented by ADHD, children face difficulties in forming social relations with other people and attaining academic excellence. If left untreated, it may present other challenges such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Based on the negative effects of DHD on the child’s development, it is imperative to find techniques of alleviating the disorder.

Sleep plays a major role in worsening ADHD symptoms, thus the importance of focusing on sleep as one of the factors that could be used to treat ADHD.

A study was conducted by Keshavarzi, Bajoghli, Mohamadi, Salmanian, Kirov, Gerber, and Brand (2014) to determine the effectiveness of sleep training in children with ADHD. The study involved 40 children diagnosed with this disorder with a mean age of ten years. It also involved grouping the students into two groups: sleep training & control group.

Sleep training involved earlier sleeping time and later waking times in order to prolong sleep duration. Other techniques of sleep hygiene such as shutting off electronic devices, taking hot showers, playing board games, and reading bedtime stories. After 12 weeks, it was observed that children who underwent the training program showcased better social relations, moods and emotions, social acceptance, and psychological well-being than students in the control group.

Therefore, the study concluded that better quality sleep improves the mental health conditions of children with ADHD.

Loss of Inadequate Sleep In Adults

Sleep deprivation is a matter of concern for adults as it limits their functioning, worsens mental disorders, and increases their likelihood of getting mental disorders.

In adults, sleep deprivation results in a general deterioration of the individual’s economic welfare. The most distinctive symptom of poor quality sleep is mood changes, which results in poor social relations with other people.

Lack of good quality sleep causes changes in moods, leading to increased interpersonal conflicts. In an organization, lack of sleep leads to increased absenteeism rates, lower productivity, lower career progression, and lower professional rewards. Poor quality of sleep is associated with increased errors and mistakes, lower efficiency, and higher injury rates.

All the above factors compromise an individual’s performance at the workplace. This results in a higher likelihood of being fired for poor performance, or as a result of exiting the organization due to poor health or injury.

There are marked differences in the manner in which younger and older adults relate to sleep. According to Duffy, Willson, Wang, and Czeisler (2009), healthy adults have better tolerance for sleep deprivation than young children. The researchers conducted a study which aimed to determine the impact of aging on sleep quality.

The study involved 37 participants who were placed in two groups according to their ages. The younger participants were aged between 18 and 29 while the older adults were aged between 65 and 76. The participants were exposed to a 26-hour waking episode. After 16 hours, the older participants reported excessive sleepiness and lower alertness. The results of the study highlight the differences in sleep disorders between older and younger individuals. The implications of the research are that the older populations should undergo increased scrutiny, especially with regards to sleep disorders. Older people are more likely to be affected than the younger population.


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