Sleep deprivation affects children’s brains differently than adults’, according to a new study. Any parent can tell you about the consequences of their child not getting enough sleep. But there is far less known about the details of how sleep deprivation affects children’s brains and what this means for early brain development. “The process of sleep may be involved in brain ‘wiring’ in childhood and thus affect brain maturation,” explains Salome Kurth, first author of the study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and a researcher at the University Hospital of Zurich. “This research shows an increase in sleep need in posterior brain regions in children.” This contrasts with what researchers know about the effects of sleep deprivation in adults, where the effect is typically concentrated in the frontal regions of the brain.
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