A research team has found that daytime sleepiness is  caused by learning problems and attention deficits in children.  For children, many researchers thought it was the other way around, but kids who get enough sleep but have learning and attention difficulties or trouble with controlling their behavior still struggle with excessive daytime sleepiness no matter how well rested they actually are.

A team of research scientists at Penn State University found that children with excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) were more likely to have learning, attention/hyperactivity and conduct problems when compared to their peers without EDS.  508 children whose parents reported incidents of EDS, despite little evidence of short sleep from traditional measurement were analyzed for the study.

Daytime Sleepiness Is Caused by Learning ProblemsHypersomnia is the name for excessive daytime sleepiness. People with this condition struggle to stay awake during the day and are forced to take frequent, long naps at odd times.  Some people cannot control the need to sleep while driving, during meals or when in conversation with someone. Unfortunately, there is no licensed medicine to treat hypersomnia, and researchers are working to understand it.

The main factors contributing to children feeling excessively sleepy while awake are obesity, symptoms of inattention, depression and anxiety, asthma and parent-reported problem falling asleep.Daytime Sleepiness Is Caused by Learning Problems

“Impairment due to EDS in cognitive and behavioral functioning can have a serious impact on a child’s development,” said Susan Calhoun, PhD, the study’s lead author. “When children are referred for neurobehavioral problems, they should be assessed for potential risk factors for EDS. Recognizing and treating EDS can offer new strategies to address some of the most common neurobehavioral challenges in young school-age children.”

The researchers noticed that most of the children displayed fewer symptoms of short sleep on being tested and short sleep was not associated with learning, attention and behavior problems.

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