Irregular heart rhythm more common in kids with insomnia

April 1, 2010

The longer children sleep at night, the less likely they will experience faulty regulation of heart rhythm while sleeping.

The longer children sleep at night, the less likely they will experience faulty regulation of heart rhythm while they are sleeping. For children with insomnia symptoms, irregular heart rhythms are a significant concern. This is according to new research presented during the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

The research involved 612 children in first to fifth grades (average age, 9 years; 25% nonwhite; 49% boys). Overall, children in the study had good health. Children's sleep was monitored overnight via polysomnography. The researchers evaluated sleeping time periods, difficulty falling asleep, times woken up, and difficulties returning to sleep if awakened. Also evaluated was cardiac autonomic modulation (CAM).

Children with symptoms of insomnia had impaired CAM. Those children who slept for longer periods had a slower heart rate, reflecting a balanced heart rhythm. Children who had 8 hours of sleep at night experienced a heart rate that was 2 beats per minute slower than children who slept just 7 hours.