Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Bad Night's Sleep May Raise Blood Pressure in Kids

    Study from China followed normal-weight teens, and found a slight increase in pressure

    continued...

    "The study separates the effect of sleep apnea from sleep loss, and conclusively shows that sleep loss in the absence of sleep apnea raises both systolic and diastolic blood pressure," said Dr. Sanjeev Kothare, a pediatric sleep expert at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City.

    "Pediatricians must screen for diabetes, and [high blood pressure] in teenagers with sleep loss besides screening for snoring and sleep apnea in obese teenagers," Kothare said.

    According to the National Sleep Foundation, children aged 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep each night to function best, but for some, 8.5 hours is enough.

    "Being healthy is not only getting regular exercise and eating right, but also trying to get the appropriate amount of sleep," said Dr. Rubin Cooper, chief of pediatric cardiology at Cohen Children's Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

    To encourage better sleep, "start a bedtime routine that helps your children wind down before bed and limit texting or social media at night," Cooper said. "Keep a similar schedule on weekdays and weekends." Other sleep hygiene tips include avoiding caffeine before bedtime.

    These measures may be even more important among kids who are overweight and obese. "If you have kids who are staying up late and getting up early on top of obesity and sleep apnea, it is the perfect storm," Cooper said. But exactly how big of a difference better sleep would make in this scenario is unknown, he noted.

    Although the study found an association between kids getting less sleep and a slight increase in blood pressure, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

    The bottom line is that "sleep isn't optional for adolescents," said Dr. Metee Comkornruecha, an adolescent medicine specialist at Miami Children's Hospital.

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article