THE worst thing in the world," wrote F Scott Fitzgerald, "is to try to sleep and not to".
If you're fortunate enough to enjoy a regular eight hours, that assertion may not cut much ice, but it's certainly likely to strike a chord if you're one of the 16 million people in the UK who had difficulty sleeping last night – or the parent of one of the 25 per cent of children who at some stage suffer from sleep problems.
The occasional bad night isn't anything to worry about. We may feel out of sorts the following day, but studies indicate we can function pretty well. However, if we're regularly going without sufficient sleep – running up a sleep debt, to use the jargon – some serious consequences can follow. And that holds for adults and children.
Last month, for example, a team of Finnish researchers published a study suggesting kids who get relatively little sleep (less than 7.7 hours a night in their sample of 280 aged seven to eight) are more likely to display behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity, restlessness, impulsiveness and lack of concentration. This sort of behaviour, when severe and prolonged, can be an indication of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Source - Scotsman