Wayne Holmes asked:
What are the long term consequences of too little sleep, especially in children? Is there any benefit of having "power naps"?
Michael Hastings - Two separate questions. The purpose of sleep, aside from withdrawing from the world, and rebuilding your body and repairing damage, and taking time out as it were, the principle purpose of sleep is for the consolidation of memories. So, when you sleep, you encode the information which you've taken on during the day.
Obviously, for children, nothing can be more important for a developing brain than to correct the process, all the new experiences that children have as they grow up. So, short sleep times in children is potentially going to have consequences for their cognitive abilities and probably with their mood as well. I think most parents recognise that.