Little girl hugging her teddy while sleeping, which she does during late nights.

It important that your child doesn’t spend late nights awake.

Are you monitoring your child after telling them to go to bed? Well, if research from the University Hospital of Zurich is any indication, it’s time to make sure they put the tablets away, turn the lights out, and turn off the TV. Sleep deprivation is serious. When your kids go to bed late on a school night, this can impact their health. In fact, late nights up appear to affect the brain.

Testing Children During Late Nights

It’s important to know that a child’s mind is still developing. So, their early years is a crucial time and sleep deprivation may affect them differently than adults. At the University Hospital of Zurich, scientists wanted to know exactly how their brains change due to a lack of sleep. The author of the study, Salome Kurth states “The process of sleep may be involved in brain ‘wiring’ in childhood and thus affect brain maturation.”

Researchers from several universities assembled 13 children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. The first night, they let the children go to sleep at a regularly scheduled time. However, during the next night, they kept the children awake for a long time by reading and playing with them. The results between the two nights showed that the back regions of the brain are affected when children don’t sleep well.

Why Change in Brain Activity Occurs

When the body does not receive enough sleep, it requires deep sleep. This is true for both adults and children. This deep sleep produces slow-wave activity in the brain, an electrical pattern which helps a person recover. Slow-wave activity occurs in regions of the brain affected by a lack of sleep.

For most adults, the frontal region of the brain is affected by sleep deprivation. In this new study, it showed that the back regions of the brain were impacted in children. The back region or parieto-occipital area of the brain controls auditory, visual, and somatosensory information.

Hopefully, more research with a larger group of children can develop more conclusive results. For now, it is wise to tuck your children in and make sure that they are sleeping enough at night.