Tuesday, May 24, 2005

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.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

This is very interesting to me and reinforces my decision to not keep soda in the house (and we drink decaffeinated, albeit sugar/sweet, tea).

When we go out to dinner, I limit my son's soda intake to only one.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger trisha said...

I cringe when I see the little Hillbilly children in this town lugging around cans and 20oz bottles of Mountain Dew.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

My mom once had a parent who put a can of beer and two candy bars into a paper bag for his son's "lunch". The child was 6-years old.

I think that a lot of problems we are seeing in children are a reflection of diet, sleep, and physical activity levels--not necessarily brain abnormalities. When I saw Dr. Gozal present his research, I was blown away. All these kids pumped full of drugs for their ADD or ADHD, and it turned out to be a sleep problem.

I'll keep you posted as these types of studies come out.

At 2:31 AM, Blogger trisha said...


I know that my diet really means the difference between sanity and insanity, bitchiness and less bitchiness. I don't eat sugar or any processed flours. And no wheat. And now I am a lamb.

I originally went gluten-free while breastfeeding R. We thought that might help him.

I think sugar and flour are evil. Delicious, sure. But evil.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Berries. Eat lots and lots of berries. Especially blueberries. There are some really cool data about the benefit of blueberries that have yet to be published, but trust me...eat them:)

At 11:05 AM, Blogger trisha said...

Okay. Good enough for me!

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

This is really interesting to me considering the stuff we've gone through with the Boy. Diet has been a big part of it, and his psychologist actually sent us to an allergist to be sure he wasn't having breathing problems that were disturbing his sleep. (As it turns out, he wasn't, but he just doesn't sleep as much as most other kids his age, and now we do everything we can to get him to sleep more--and if we can, it does make a difference.) Interesting stuff!

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Hoe Bing


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