HealthDay News — Some behavioral sleep problems in early childhood are associated with the onset of mental health symptoms during early adolescence, according to a study published online in JAMA Psychiatry.

Isabel Morales-Muñoz, PhD, from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and colleagues used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort (including 7155 participants born between April 1, 1991, and December 31, 1992) to evaluate associations between several parent-reported sleep problems in early childhood and psychotic and borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms at 11 to 13 years of age, as well as potential mediation of the associations by depression at 10 years of age.

The researchers found that higher night awakening frequency at 18 months of age (odds ratio [OR], 1.13) and less regular sleep routines at 6 months (OR, 0.68), 30 months (OR, 0.64), and 5.8 years (OR, 0.32) of age were significantly associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence. Shorter nighttime sleep duration (OR, 0.78) and later bedtime at 3.5 years of age (OR, 1.32) were significantly associated with BPD symptoms. The associations between frequent night awakenings at 18 months of age and irregular sleep routines at 5.8 years of age with psychosis were mediated by depression at 10 years of age.

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“These results could contribute to the design of more personalized sleep and psychological interventions in psychosis and BPD,” the authors write.

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