The average person associates sleep problems with things like stress and anxiety, so they cannot easily understand that some groups can have trouble sleeping. However, it isn't merely the pressures of work, society, and relationships that can take a toll on a person's ability to get good sleep quality and quantity. Other things can play a role, such as a mood or behavioral problems, food intake in the immediate hours preceding sleep, and a whole milieu of little things. Recent studies show that children are just as likely to have problems getting to sleep as adults are, though the reasons are not quite the same. What's worse is that this lack of sleep may bring about a problem which is more serious than being sleepy in class: obesity.
Recent studies have shown that children below the age of six can experience difficulty in getting to sleep and staying asleep. The study was prompted by some statistics that show children are getting less sleep, to find out why this was happening. The results showed that children who watched certain types of TV shows, particularly police dramas and news broadcasts, had difficulty getting to sleep at night. The study found that the longer the child spent watching shows of that nature, along with other violent or disturbing programs, the longer it took for them to get to sleep. In some cases, the data were also correlated with the child experiencing breaks in sleep. The more they watched, the more frequently they woke up in the middle of the night.
Background TV exposure also seemed to play a role. According to the research, sleep problems can also appear even if the child is not directly watching TV. The types of programs remained the same, but the nature of exposure was changed. Background TV exposure, such as hearing bits and pieces of broadcast in the distance, caused the same sleep problems that directly watching programs did. However, the research also revealed that the risks were lower than with direct viewing. Not by much, but they were noticeably lower. However, a lack of sleep caused by this can cause a child to eventually become overweight and obese as part of the side effects, according to another study.
The study recorded the Body Mass Index (BMI) and the sleep patterns of children in both third and sixth grade. As the children obtained less sleep for a variety of reasons, their BMI also went up, raising the risk of obesity as early as the fifth grade. Factors such as genetics, environment, medical history, sex, race, and education were eliminated to ensure that the results were as accurate as possible. BMI increased as the hours of sleep decreased, though some variables could have been not taken into account while the study was being planned. These factors include things such as personality and financial status, along with the inevitable lack of physical activity due to the lack of sleep.