Children's brains respond differently to staying up late

Research Summary
Hayley Roper
Research Assistant

A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests that children respond differently to sleep deprivation than adults. Researchers kept a group of 13 children, ages 5 to 12 years, awake for half of the night by playing games and reading. They used EEG to measure the children’s brain waves during sleep. Deep sleep shows up on an EEG as slow-wave activity. A period of deep sleep helps the brain recover after sleep deprivation. In this study, more slow-wave activity was present in the back regions of the childrens' brains after the night of sleep deprivation. In sleep deprived adults, slow-wave activity tends to be in the front of the brain. It is unclear how sleep deprivation affects brain development in children long-term. But this study demonstrates a need to understand sleep deprivation across development. Read more about how children’s brains respond to staying up late at Science Daily.