Objective: To examine the impact of sleep duration on emotional functioning and cognitive performance in children.
Methods: 32 children (8-12 years) wore actigraphs for 3 weeks. Following a week of typical sleep, each child was randomly assigned to go to bed 1 hr earlier for 4 nights (Long Sleep) or 1 hr later for 4 nights (Short Sleep) relative to their typical bedtime. Each child then completed the opposite condition. After each week, emotional and cognitive functioning were assessed using objective and subjective measures.
Results: Results revealed impaired functioning in the Short- relative to the Long-Sleep condition on measures of positive affective response, emotion regulation, short-term memory, working memory, and aspects of attention.
Conclusions: Results suggest that even modest differences in sleep duration over just a few nights can have significant consequences for children's daytime functioning. These findings demonstrate the important impact of sleep duration on children's daytime functioning.
Keywords: children; cognitive assessment; mental health; psychosocial functioning; sleep.