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Sleep and scholar performance
Sleep plays a vital role in brain function and systemic physiology across many body systems. Problems with sleep are widely prevalent and include deficits in quantity and quality of sleep; sleep problems that impact the continuity of sleep are collectively referred to as sleep disruptions. Numerous factors contribute to sleep disruption, ranging from lifestyle and environmental factors to sleep disorders and other medical conditions. Sleep disruptions have substantial adverse short- and long-term health consequences. Sleep disruption is associated with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, metabolic effects, changes in circadian rhythms, and proinflammatory responses. In otherwise healthy adults, short-term consequences of sleep disruption include increased stress responsivity, somatic pain, reduced quality of life, emotional distress and mood disorders, and cognitive, memory, and performance deficits.
For adolescents, psychosocial health, school performance, and risk-taking behaviors are impacted by sleep disruption. Behavioral problems and cognitive functioning are associated with sleep disruption in children; regarding this, parents and teachers of children with sleep alterations often report cognitive and behavioral difficulties such as inattention, restlessness, aggressiveness and learning difficulties.
Long-term consequences of sleep disruption in otherwise healthy individuals include hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and colorectal cancer. All-cause mortality is also increased in men with sleep disturbances. For those with underlying medical conditions, sleep disruption may diminish the health-related quality of life of children and adolescents and may worsen the severity of common gastrointestinal disorders.
As a result of the potential consequences of sleep disruption, health care professionals should be cognizant of how managing underlying medical conditions may help to optimize sleep continuity and consider prescribing interventions that minimize sleep disruption.
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Oscar Sans is currently the medical director of AdSalutem Institute, Sleep medicine as well as Chief of the Sleep Unit of Sant Joan de Déu children´s hospital. He is from 2017, associate professor of the International University of Catalonia (UIC). He received his M.D. from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), completed his neurophysiology residency at the Miguel Servet University Hospital in Zaragoza. He then completed his pediatric sleep medicine training, from 2004 till 2008, at the University of Louisville under the mentorship of professor David Gozal who was at that time the Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair for Pediatric Research, Distinguished University Scholar, Director of the Kosair Children’s Research Institute, and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program, both of which were recognized as programs of distinction by the AASM. From 2008 until 2017, Dr. Sans served as coordinator of the Sleep Unit of Sant Joan de Déu children’s hospital. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed original articles, as well as 10 book chapters and reviews.