Caffeine and Sleep in Children
In honor of my caffeine fetish today:
This study shows a link between behavior problems and caffeinated-soda intake in children. Note that these data were presented in abstract form (American Psychiatric Association, 158th annual meeting. Abstract #NR45); I'm not sure if they have been published in a journal yet.
The most important quote from this article was:
The study shows why it is so important to completely evaluate young children who are having behavioral and emotional problems, and to review the child's dietary habits, including caffeinated beverages, as part of the evaluation," Dr. Fassler said. Although questions about caffeine consumption are typically part of the screen for anxiety disorders, pediatric insomnia, and ADHD, the findings are a reminder not to neglect this part of the evaluation.
I would like to add that sleep disturbances, which have also been shown to influence behavioral and learning problems, should be evaluated in children.
Several convincing studies have demonstrated that a portion of children who have behavioral problems, including ADD and ADHD, or who qualify for learning disabled programs have sleep-associated gas exchange abnormalities (such as sleep apnea). Dr. David Gozal, at the U of Louisville, has shown that early intervention can eliminate some of the learning deficits, improving behavior and minimizing IQ loss.
If you know a child who has behavioral or learning problems, it definitely wouldn't hurt to check out their diets and their sleep.