Monday, August 24, 2009

Increased Physical Activity and Sleep Latency

  • Many children have difficulty falling asleep.

  • Active children tend to have less trouble falling asleep.

  • Children who tend to sit around a great deal have more trouble falling asleep.

Sleep latency refers to the amount of time it takes to fall asleep once you get into bed. Increased sleep latency, or difficulty falling asleep, is a common problem in childhood. Researchers investigating sleep latency in 519 normal 7 year old children recently published their findings in the July 24th issue of the Archives of Diseases of Childhood. The median values were 10 hours for sleep duration and 26 minutes for sleep latency. 54 children, 10.5% who reportedly had difficulty falling asleep, had a mean latency of 41 minutes. Sleep latency was longest during the summer. Increased physical activity was associated with decreased sleep latency while increased sedentary behavior was associated with increased sleep latency.

If your child is having trouble getting to sleep, encouraging more daytime physical activity may be helpful.