Dear Mr. Dad: In one of your recent columns you talked about how sleep deprivation can affect women’s fertility. During the summer, my kids get plenty of sleep, but during the school year they’re almost always tired. What are the effects of sleep deprivation on children?
A: There’s no question that sleep deprivation is bad for adults. Besides affecting fertility, is also increases the risk of depression, anxiety, diabetes, cardiac problem, and car accidents (about 100,000/year are caused by drowsy drivers), and decreases our ability to fight off infection. The effects on children are just as bad. Two new studies underscore just how important sleep is by showing how the lack of it influences children’s behavior and food choices.