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Recent Study Suggests Nap-Deprived Tots at Risk for Emotional Problems

A new study on nap-deprivation in children suggests that lack of afternoon sleep could increase odds of emotional problems later in life.

Monique LeBourgeois, director of the sleep and development laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told The Sacramento Bee ( that lack of sleep disrupts a child’s ability to build skills for managing emotions. This could put them at risk for lifelong mood-related problems such as anxiety and depression.

About 20 percent of toddlers aren’t getting the suggested minimum of 10 hours of sleep a night, said LeBourgeois. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health tested the effect of nap deprivation on 2½ to 3-year-old children.

Toddlers were given puzzles and activities after varying levels of sleep. Researchers paid attention to emotional cues (or lack thereof) to test the theory. Those who skipped, even one day of naptime, showed 31 percent more negative emotions than their rested counterparts.

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