Over the summer months, many parents allowed their children to adopt irregular sleep habits, letting them stay up late or sleep in. While this was all well-intentioned, with school almost here, it’s time to get your child’s sleep back on track. Lack of sleep and erratic sleep behaviors have been linked to poor academic performance in students from elementary to college. A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that almost 15 million children in the U.S. are negatively affected by inadequate sleep.
When children don’t receive the appropriate amount of sleep, their mind is less alert, which means they are less attentive. They become more impulsive, argumentative, hyperactive, and are more accident-prone. This all leads to poor academic performance.
Importance of Sleep
Many parents are very aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep for their child’s health, but they don’t know how much of an impact it can have on their academic performance.
Researchers at McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal found that better quality sleep improved children’s performance in subjects like math and language. The researchers found a link specifically between performance and sleep efficiency, which is the proportion of how long you slept to how long you were in bed.
They studied 75 healthy children from ages 7-11 with a device called an “actigraph” worn on their wrist. It monitored their night activity over five nights. They found significant performance variables in math and languages, including a 14% variability in math and 7% and 8% in English and French. Math and language are important because they require executive functions in the brain, which include memory, planning, and attention.
This research was done to show that not only is how long you sleep important but so is the quality of your sleep.
Importance of a Bedtime Routine
The summer often leads to many children having a relaxed sleep schedule. The times they go to bed and wake up are not fixed. While that may work during the summer months, it can lead to adverse effects during the school year.
According to a study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, having a regular sleep pattern leads to improved sleep and academic performance. They found that students who went to sleep and woke up at approximately the same time every day performed better during the semester.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children 5-12 years old should get between 9 to 11 hours of sleep. For teenagers, they should be getting an average of 8 hours a night, but only about 15% of them do. It can sometimes be hard to get your kids to bed at a normal hour, but it is incredibly important. That’s why Tots N Teens Pediatrics is here to offer parents tips to getting your child’s sleep schedule fixed:
If your child continues to struggle with their sleep, they may have a sleep disorder. You should contact Tots N Teens Pediatrics as soon as possible if you believe your child may have one.
With the school year upon us, parents need to understand how important sleep is for their child. Without a healthy sleep schedule, a child’s performance in school can suffer. It is important for them to build a healthy and appropriate sleep routine for their child to succeed. If you have any questions regarding your child’s sleep schedule and fixing it, contact Tots N Teens Pediatrics.