Date of Award


Document Type

Critically Appraised Topic

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne Haskins

Second Advisor

Breann Lamborn

Third Advisor

Gail Bass/Devon Olson Lambert


Sleep is a crucial component of healthy neurological development throughout childhood. According to Suni (2023a), elementary school-aged children between the ages of 6 and 12 experience sleep deprivation when they obtain less than 9 hours of sleep per night. Contie (2022) found that children experiencing insufficient sleep had more mental health and behavioral challenges than those who had sufficient sleep. Additionally, Contie (2022) found that children experiencing sleep deprivation had less gray matter and volume in their brains. This impacts cognitive functioning, specifically decision-making, conflict-solving, working memory, and learning. The brain undergoes critical development of the basal ganglia, ganglia-thalamus-cortex circuit, and prefrontal cortex; underdevelopment of these areas leads to inattention, affective changes, and information processing (Yang, et al., 2022). According to Jiang (2020), neuroimaging studies have suggested that sleep deprivation was associated with a 60% greater magnitude of activation of the amygdala. Diminished connectivity between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex suggests that sleep deprivation may cause a lack of cognitive control over emotions. Sleep deprivation can have an immense impact on emotional regulation and cognitive function (Jiang, 2020). Altogether, sleep plays a crucial role in brain development in children.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.