A recent study conducted by the University of Houston examined the impact of poor sleep on children ages 7 to 11. During the study, children were administered two tests, one after a full night of sleep, and one after a night of restricted sleep. The participants were then shown a series of images and videos with positive and negative stimuli and data was collected through recordings, objective facial expressions, and respiratory sinus arrhythmias.
The most significant changes in reactions came from interacting with positive stimuli, rather than negative. Additionally, children with pre-existing anxiety had the most dramatic changes in reactions following the night of restricted sleep. The ability to read and interact with positive emotion is essential to children’s development of friendship and effective social interaction. This study helps to explain why children who sleep less often have peer-related issues in school.
Overall, the study emphasizes the need for proper sleep among children, as their social and emotional experiences can be greatly impacted by a lack of sleep.