World Mental Healthcare Association

Children’s Facial Expressions Tell The Story Of Poor Sleep: Study

Childrens Facial Expressions Tell The Story Of Poor Sleep news
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Health News– A new study report suggested that when children are overtired, their facial expressions can predict longer-term social problems.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Houston examined 37 children between the ages of 7-11 during two laboratory emotional assessments. One was when the children got proper sleep and another was after two nights of partial sleep restriction.

In these two assessments, children watched positive and negative images on a computer screen and an HD camera recorded their facial expressions. The parents reported their children’s social functioning at that time and approximately after two years.

The study findings showed that inadequate sleep can affect children’s emotional functioning in different ways that may forecast longer-term social problems. The study found that the children who displayed less positive facial expressions in response to pleasant pictures when sleep-restricted were reported to have more social problems after two years, even when controlling for previous social problems.

“Sleep problems in children are routinely linked with lower social competence and more problems in peer relationships, but we really don’t understand what drives these associations,” said Candice Alfano, lead author of the study published in the Affective Science.

“For younger children, more explicit behaviors such as sharing and taking turns may be more important for friendships than subtle facial expressions,” Alfano explained. According to him, emotional expressions become more important with age. He suggested that facial expressions provide an understanding of how one is feeling as well as have a cognition effect on how others feel.

The research result supports a burgeoning body of research that suggests poor sleep quality in childhood predicts socio-emotional problems and indicates the importance of studies investigating how sleep affects multiple aspects of children’s psychological well-being.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Alfano, C.A., Kim, J., Cifre, A.B. et al. Children’s Emotional Expressivity After Sleep Restriction Forecasts Social Problems Years Later. Affec Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42761-021-00078-2

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