Abstract and Keywords
The early years of childhood are characterized by rapid advances in growth, cognition and behavior. It is also the period of the human lifespan most occupied by sleep with correspondingly rapid changes in the structure, organization and regulation of sleep. The development and maturation of sleep during childhood is a dynamic process influenced by a range of physiological, genetic, biological, and psychosocial factors. Marked transformations are observed in sleep neurophysiology during the first few months of life, reflecting underlying central nervous system (CNS) growth and maturation while the emergence of circadian, homeostatic and ultradian regulatory processes modulate the timing and distribution of sleep-wake states. It is now well recognized that adequate sleep is essential for the health and well-being of children, with increasing evidence that sleep plays a crucial role in physical, psychological, and cognitive development. An improved understanding of normal sleep across the entire pediatric age range is therefore essential in understanding the role of sleep in child development and for the timely identification and treatment of sleep problems.
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