How Kids' Brains Respond to a Late Night Up
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 and a researchers 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. After staying up too late, both children and adults need a period of deep sleep to recover. This recovery phase is characterized by an increase in an electrical pattern called slow-wave activity, which can be measured with a non-invasive technique called an electroencephalogram. With a large number of electrode channels distributed across the scalp, this method also detects which brain regions show more slow-wave activity than others.
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