If same holds true in humans, children's sleep deprivation could alter adult behavior
Busy people like to say that the best time to sleep is when you’re dead. But the best time to sleep is actually when you’re young, a study of fruit flies suggests.
Newly hatched fruit flies deprived of sleep end up with brain and behavior problems later in life, scientists report in the April 18 Science. “This study is a really important advance in our understanding of how sleep and brain maturation are related,” says neuroscientist Salome Kurth of the University of Colorado Boulder.
It’s not clear whether sleep trouble early in life has similar effects in people. If so, the implications are provocative, says neuroscientist Megan Hagenauer of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “They suggest that the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation in human children may go beyond temporary impairment and actually produce permanently altered brain development,” she says.