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Sleep And Behavior

by Diego Bertini
(Milan, Italy)

My first son (9 years old) has been sleeping about 10 hours (per night) for years. When he went to school at 6 his behaviour got worse; he is more aggressive, more nervous (onicophagy, and he gnaws pens, pencils, and so on), stressed, and indifferent to the needs of other people. He has also a not-so-good vision of his life (he has a brother of 6, so we think there is jealousy, too). He is the contrary of the child he used to be before.

Now, we know that he sleeps quite enough (though he occasionally has difficulty falling asleep), from 9 pm to 7 am. But we have noted that he is very easily awakened by small perturbations of the surrounding environment, so we are afraid that his sleep is somehow "superficial", of bad quality. And we are wondering if such a problem could have bad effects on his behaviour.

Thank you very much.


Dear Diego,

You are absolutely correct in thinking that poor quality sleep can affect your son's behavior. Fragmented sleep can actually be very damaging for children because it makes it difficult to get adequate rest.

I'm going to refer you to our page on child sleep disorders where we have a specific section on how sleep affects behavior. I think the information there will be very useful for you.

Additionally, your story will be posted here where other visitors can give you valuable feedback as well.

Best wishes to your family and please let us know if you have questions.



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Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

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