The associations between insufficient sleep and poorer functioning persisted even after adjusting for factors that influence relationships.
Washington: Attention parents! Let your kids take a sound sleep, as children who do not get enough sleep during preschool and early school-age years are more likely to have problems with attention, emotional control and peer relationships in age seven, warn a study.
The findings, appeared online in the journal Academic Pediatricsm indicated that children living in homes with lower household incomes and whose mothers, who had lower education levels were more likely to sleep less than nine hours at ages five to seven.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital found executive function - which includes attention, working memory, reasoning and problem solving -- and behavioural problems in seven-year-old children depending on how much sleep they regularly received at younger ages.
"We found that children who get an insufficient amount of sleep in their preschool and early school-age years have a higher risk of poor neurobehavioral function at around age seven," said lead researcher Elsie Taveras.
"The associations between insufficient sleep and poorer functioning persisted even after adjusting for several factors that could influence the relationship," Taveras added.
They analysed 1,046 children to gather information from their mothers at in-person interviews when their children were around six months, three years and seven years old.
In addition, mothers and teachers were sent survey instruments evaluating each child's executive function and behavioural issues -- including emotional symptoms and problems with conduct or peer relationships, when children were around seven.
They determined which children were not receiving the recommended amount of sleep at specific age categories -- 12 hours or longer at ages six months to two years, 11 hours or longer at ages three to four years, and 10 hours or longer at five to seven years.
They also found other factors associated with insufficient sleep include more television viewing, a higher body mass index and being African American.
The researchers noted that sleep levels during infancy often predict levels at later ages, supporting the importance of promoting a good quantity and quality of sleep from the youngest ages.