Many studies have documented associations between sleep, cognitive performance, and mental health in children. While the neural mechanisms underlying these associations have been largely unknown, imaging studies of the brain are providing new ways of understanding what areas of the brain are involved.
A recent article reports on a study of MRI scans of over 11,000 children, ages 9-11, from 21 centers in the U.S. with a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic, ethnic, and health characteristics. Parents completed a survey that asked about their child’s sleep duration and 10 different areas of mental health problems. Children were assessed with a standardized battery of cognitive measures. Nearly half of the sample was surveyed again after one year.