Hey Kids, Got Rest?

How important is it for children to get enough sleep?

Doctors say sleep deprivation can cause more than just being cranky, because there could be some serious health problems if your child suffers from sleep apnea.

Patient Emily Spaulding says, "It was really really bad. I was getting sick and the doctors didn't know what was wrong."

Emily Spaulding, a young 12-year old, seemed to be chronically sick, she had strep throat seven times and she was not getting restful sleep.

"I actually lost a job, because she was sick so much," says Mrs. Spaulding, Emily’s mother.

Then she started to lose weight, which made a big difference in her sleep habits and her health, and these tow things are closely intertwined, according to Dr. Sumit Bhargava.

Dr. Bhargava enrolled Emily in his study at the Yale pediatric sleep lab which can detect sleep disorders of all types.

Doctors say the computer screen is like a window into the sleeping mind.

You can see their eye movements and their heart rate, and take a look at this flat line can show where a person is experiencing obstructive sleep apnea.

That is what Dr. Bhargava is looking at whether obese children who have obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to become diabetic.

Emily did have sleep apnea, which is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing for a few seconds while sleeping.

Dr. Bhargava also discovered Emily has trouble controlling her blood sugar and unfortunately, she is pre-diabetic.

"The fact that we can make this intervention so early in Emily's life, we may actually have been able to change the risk of her developing other more significant diseases as she grows older," says Dr. Bhargava.

"If you have an opportunity like this in front of you take it, because it may turn out to be nothing, but in my case it changed my child's life," says Mrs. Spaulding, Emily’s mother.

This treatment has helped doctors learn more about the connection between poor sleeping patterns and diabetes in children.

Doctors recommend children get 9 and a half hours of sleep a night however, a recent study shows, the average child only gets about 7 and a half and they tend to get less the older they get.

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