News

Blood test could show if children get enough sleep

Researchers say a group of molecules in the blood could be used in a test to assess if children get enough sleep or are susceptible to certain health conditions
Picture shows a child sleeping. Scientists say a blood molecule could be used in a test to show if children get enough sleep or are susceptible to certain health conditions.

Researchers say a group of molecules in the blood could be used in a test to assess if children get enough sleep or are susceptible to certain health conditions

A simple blood test could hold the key to assessing whether children are getting enough sleep, according to new research published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

Scientists have found that a group of molecules in the blood known as microRNAs are associated with sleep quality.

Researchers said their findings could help devise a test that could not only assess whether children are getting enough sleep, but also determine whether they are susceptible to other health conditions.

Researchers say a group of molecules in the blood could be used in a test to assess if children get enough sleep or are susceptible to certain health conditions

Picture shows a child sleeping. Scientists say a blood molecule could be used in a test to show if children get enough sleep or are susceptible to certain health conditions.
Picture: iStock

A simple blood test could hold the key to assessing whether children are getting enough sleep, according to new research published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

Scientists have found that a group of molecules in the blood known as microRNAs are associated with sleep quality.

Researchers said their findings could help devise a test that could not only assess whether children are getting enough sleep, but also determine whether they are susceptible to other health conditions.

One of the authors of the study, Fabio Laura of the Institute of Food Sciences of the National Research Council in Italy, said: ‘Our findings show for the first time that sleep duration reflects the profile of specific circulating microRNAs in school-age children and adolescents.’

The team studied 111 healthy children and adolescents from eight European countries – Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary and Sweden.

Blood test more reliable than self-reporting to assess sleep quality

Based on self-reporting, the children were classed as ‘short sleepers’ and ‘normal sleepers’.

Short sleepers included children sleeping less than nine hours per night, while normal sleepers were those getting at least nine hours of sleep.

Adolescents getting less than eight hours of sleep were classed as short sleepers while those sleeping for at least eight hours or more were normal sleepers.

The researchers found that by analysing the profiles of two circulating microRNAs they could tell which children were poor sleepers.

Based on their findings, the researchers believe a blood test to assess sleep quality could provide a more reliable metric than self-reporting.


Find out more

Circulating miRNAs are associated with sleep duration in children/adolescents: Results of the I.Family Study (Experimental Physiology research paper)

In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursingchildrenandyoungpeople.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs