The broken sleep of myopic babes

Children with high myopia are more likely to have poor quality sleep, according to new research

28 Sep 2016 by Olivia Wannan

Highly myopic children face health risks from delayed bedtimes and broken sleep, Japanese researchers warn in a new research paper.

Yet contact lens wear – at all ages – does seem to promote a healthy snoozing, the study also concluded.

Nearly 500 people, aged 10 to 59, were surveyed on their sleep habits and quality, as well as their experiences of anxiety and depression.

Crunching the numbers, researchers found that children with high myopia had the latest bedtimes, the shortest sleep length and poorest quality sleep when compared to their peers with mild myopia or normal vision.

High myopes went to bed an hour later than other children and woke up an hour sooner, the paper published in the Scientific Reports journal summarised.

However, this difference was absent in the adults surveyed.

The researchers warned that: “Such sleep habits could affect systemic and ocular health if continued for several years, because sleep duration is closely related to health and growth in adolescence.”

The paper did note that more research in this area was required, though did emphasise that: “Our results suggest that high myopic children should avoid exposure to light late at night in terms of sleep hygiene and limiting myopic progression.”

The researchers added: “Based on previous studies and the present results, we could hypothesise that long-lasting near sightedness, restricted visual field, and hyperopia could induce stress in visual recognition and lead to mood disorder since depression is closely associated with sleep disorders.”

The study also compared contact lens wearers with non-wearers and found that, for both children and adults, sleep efficiency and daytime functioning were both significantly improved in wearers.

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