Are your children having trouble sleeping? If you’ve crossed off all the other usual suspects, then consider this: according to a recent study presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston, exposure to violence may be responsible for your kids’ troubling sleep problems.

Researchers studied the sleeping habits of 46 children between the ages of 8 and 16 in Cleveland, Ohio. All participants were part of a social service program for children who were exposed to violence. The study authors found that the kids' exposure to different levels of violence had varying effects. Victims of violence, for example, had poorer sleep quality and fewer sleeping hours when compared to those who only witnessed the act. On the extreme side, witnessing a murder worsened the children’s quality of sleep as time passed by.

So make sure you look out for your kids and monitor their exposure to violence--while you may feel that witnessing a murder isn't likely, there are still many kinds of violence they can be exposed to. Domestic abuse, for example, is traumatizing to kids, even if they aren't the ones being hurt. You may also want to screen the media your kids are exposed to so you can ensure that this remains on the GP or PG-7 level.

[Not sure exposure to violence is the problem? Click here to read about helping your child develop good sleeping habits.]

(Photo by tamckile via Flickr Creative Commons)

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