In an article for Brain Blogger, Carla Clark, PhD, discusses the serious impact of poor sleep on a child’s behavior.

Despite the great complexity and diversity in establishing the causes of juvenile delinquency, child crime cases are found to have many factors in common. New juvenile delinquency research suggests that kids getting poor sleep may be more likely to commit crimes and engage in violent behavior because of a lack of sleep promoting poor self-control.

Previous research indicates that teens who do not get adequate, quality sleep are at an increased risk for involvement in various forms of delinquency and risk-taking behaviors.

Meanwhile in other research, Baumeister’s strength model of self-control indicates that self-control is a finite resource that is replenished by rest. Think of self-control like a muscle that gets tired out from being used, needing a good night’s sleep to replenish your power of self-control.

A link between sleep and self-control?

Researchers from Florida International University and The University of Texas aimed to bridge the gap between the two lines of research by testing whether adolescents who fail to get adequate, restful sleep on a consistent basis may have poorer self-control and therefore be more likely to engage in delinquent behavior.

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