Caffeine Linked to Sleep Issues, but Most Kids Drink it Daily

Filed under: In The News, Nutrition: Big Kids, Nutrition: Tweens, Sleep, Nutrition: Health

caffeine and sleep picture

Decrease the buzz, increase the Zzzs. Credit: Melanie Conner/Getty Images

Baffled by your child's sleep issues? Try cutting the caffeine.

A survey of the parents of more than 200 children between the ages of 5 and 12 showed that more than 75 percent of them consumed caffeine on a daily basis, according to an article in the Journal of Pediatrics. And guess what? The more caffeine they drank, the less they slept.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center spoke to parents during routine visits to a pediatric clinic and asked what kinds of snacks and drinks their child consumed each day. They found that some kids as young as 5 were drinking the equivalent of a can of soda every day, and kids between the ages of 8 and 12 the equivalent of 3 cans. The study's lead author, William Warzak, professor of psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at UNMC, tells ParentDish by e-mail that parents' estimates about older children's consumption are "probably underestimates, because parents lose track of what their children are eating and drinking."

The researchers managed to poke holes, though, in the old theory that caffeine causes bedwetting; they found no such link, although Warzak cautions that his results are preliminary and need to be replicated. "Until then, I would maintain my advice that children who wet the bed would be well advised to forgo caffeine especially as the day wears down and bedtime approaches," he tells ParentDish.

The study's authors concluded that parents need to be aware of how much caffeine their children are consuming each day, and of the potential for disrupted sleep.

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