MONTREAL, March 2 (UPI) -- Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder had trouble being attentive after losing an hour of sleep nightly for a week, Canadian researchers say.
Lead author and principal investigator Reut Gruber of McGill University -- director of the Attention, Behavior and Sleep Laboratory at Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal -- says the study suggests even moderate reductions in sleep duration can affect neurobehavioral functioning and hurt the grades of children with ADHD.
The study, published in the journal Sleep, finds after mean nightly sleep loss of about 55 minutes for six nights, the performance of children with ADHD deteriorated from the subclinical range to the clinical range of inattention on four of six measures.
The study involved 43 children with a mean age of 9, 11 with ADHD, and 32 controls. Baseline sleep was monitored for six nights and children were asked to eliminate 1 hour of nightly sleep for six consecutive nights.
"The reduction in sleep duration in our study was modest and similar to the sleep deprivation that might occur in daily life," Gruber says in a statement. "Thus, even small changes in dinner time, computer time, or staying up to do homework could result in poorer neurobehavioral functioning the following day and affect sustained attention and vigilance, which are essential for optimal academic performance."