Something to Lose Sleep Over

Researcher finds children are drinking a lot of soda, and it affects their sleep quality

(RxWiki News) According to Dr. William Warzak and colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the more caffeine that children consume, the more their sleep quality is negatively affected.

Their study, which is published in the Journal of Pediatrics, reports 75 percent of the children surveyed drink caffeinated beverages on a daily basis.

Dr. Warzak and his co-authors surveyed the parents of over 200 children between the ages of 5 and 12. The researchers asked parents to report the kind and quantity of snacks and beverages their child consumed on a daily basis.

"Some children as young as 5 years old were consuming the equivalent of a can of soda a day," says Dr. Warzak. The surveys showed that older children (between the ages of 8 and 12) drank even more caffeine: about the equivalent of 36 ounces of soda per day.

Although popular belief is that caffeine consumption in children leads to bedwetting, the researchers found no such link. Dr. Evans, coauthor and statistician, explains: "Children were not more likely to wet the bed if they consumed caffeine, despite the fact that caffeine is a diuretic."

The authors of the study warn of the negative influences caffeine can have on a child's sleep patterns. Poor sleep quality can end up causing problems that affect a child's daily functioning. The authors also encourage pediatricians to keep track of their patients' caffeine consumption in addition to educating parents on the potential harms of consuming caffeine.

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Review Date: 
December 16, 2010