The sleep of 30 children with disorders of growth and development was studied because of the known association between sleep and the secretion of hormones. Thirty three normal children were studied for comparison. The sleep of two consecutive nights was monitored at home using a small portable electroencephalogram and electro-oculogram recorder. Within the normal group there were no significant differences between sexes nor between the first and second nights of recording. There was a significant decrease in total sleep time with increasing age due to reduction in the amounts of rapid eye movement sleep and stage IV sleep. There was no change in rapid eye movement latency or overall rapid eye movement activity between the three age groups. Children with genetic short stature and those with poor growth as a result of poor eating habits had an increased percentage of rapid eye movement sleep. A significant decrease in the percentage of stage IV sleep, increased amount of rapid eye movement sleep (especially active rapid eye movement sleep), and decreased rapid eye movement cycling time was found in five children with severe psychosocial deprivation. Children with constitutional delay of growth and puberty had an increased rapid eye movement cycling time and thus less rapid eye movement sleep over the whole night.
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