Slow-wave sleep, or 'deep sleep', is intimately involved in the complex control of the onset of puberty, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).
The many changes that occur in boys and girls during puberty are triggered by changes in the brain. Previous studies have shown that the parts of the brain that control puberty first become active during sleep, but the present study shows that it is deep sleep, rather than sleep in general, that is associated with this activity.
"If the parts of the brain that activate the reproductive system depend on deep sleep, then we need to be concerned that inadequate or disturbed sleep in children and young adolescents may interfere with normal pubertal maturation," said Harvard researcher, Natalie Shaw, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital who led the study. "This is particularly true for children who have been diagnosed with sleep disorders, but may also have more widespread implications as recent studies have found that most adolescents get less sleep than they require."
Aaron Lohr | EurekAlert!
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