Children with sleep problems that are not tackled early are likely to develop severe insomnia in middle-age, according to a new study.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in adults and affects up to almost one in three people. Chronic insomnia is also associated with a high risk of mental health issues, along with well-being and economic consequences, including working capacity.
Published in JAMA Network Open journal, the study found links between moderate to severe childhood behavioural problems and insomia by the age of 42.
Senior author Robert Adams, professor of respiratory and sleep medicine, said, “Early intervention to manage children’s externalised behaviours, such as bullying, irritability or constant restlessness, may reduce the risk of adult insomnia.”
Adams added, “Given the cost of sleep disorders, including insomnia, to every economy and society in the world, it’s another important step towards managing this endemic problem in the community.
The study was based on externalised behavioural problems reported by parents, including cases of restlessness, disobedience, fighting, bullying, property damage, theft and irritability. And they found unattended sleep patterns and problems in behaviour to be the probable reason behind insomnia.