Bullied Victims At Increased Risk Of Sleep Walking [Science World Report, by Kathleen Lees, 15/09/2014]

Statistics show that bullying is still very much a problem in the United States.
Now recent findings published in the journal Pediatrics reveal that among the other health concerns for bullied victims, including mental, emotional and physical trauma, those affected are more likely to have issues with sleep walking and suffer from nightmares.

“We found children who were bullied at age 8 or 10 years were more likely to have nightmares, night terrors, or sleepwalking at age 12 years. Moreover, those who were bullied and bullied others (bully/victims) were most likely to have any parasomnia,” said lead study author Dieter Wolke of Warwick Medical School and the Department of Psychology, in a news release. “Consistent with previous studies, being a female, having persistent sleep problems, and emotional and behavior problems in childhood additionally increased the risk for parasomnias at age 12 years.”

Researchers discovered that children who were bullied from ages eight through 10 were more likely to suffer from the aforementioned issues, particularly by the age of 12. Furthermore, being bullied was shown to increase the risk for numerous sleep disorders that can exacerbated by sleep problems.

Researchers concluded that prevention of bullying and education about classroom civility are key to preventing this and other health issues related to or directly caused by bullying.

“Nightmares may occur when anxiety exceeds a threshold level and several studies have suggested that trait anxiety may be related to the frequency of parasomnias. However, even after controlling for pre-existing anxiety problems our results showed that being bullied may increase the risk for parasomnias,” added co-study author Dr. Suzet Tanya Lereya from the University of Warwick.”If a child is experiencing frequent parasomnias, parents, teachers, school counselors, and clinicians may consider asking about bullying. This would allow detecting bullied children and providing the help they need at an early time to reduce the negative effects of being bullied.”