Are your children struggling in school? If so, one of the reasons may be due to a lack of sleep. A study conducted by the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Ramon Llull University found that the academic performance of children was negatively affected in those that slept for less than 9 hours per night.
The researchers discovered that students who were six to seven years of age and slept for 8 to 9 hours had a worse performance as compared to those who slept for 9 to 11 hours.
Losing out on quality rest time, going to bed late and not having a regular routine resulted in a number of negative effects including an impact on memory, learning and motivation. It caused difficulties in remembering and understanding grammar and spelling rules, reading comprehension and more.
Maintaining healthy sleep patterns is essential for good cognitive development, as well as a number of other reasons. Children who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for obesity, frequent illness and autoimmune problems. Research has found that those who follow the old “early to bed, early to rise” advice get more exercise, are thinner and healthier.
One survey found that as many as two-thirds of children may not be getting enough sleep. More than a quarter of young students reported having difficulties concentrating at school and claimed to fall in class at least once a week.
Health and sleep experts say children who are 3 to 6 years of age should get 13 hours of sleep while 7 to 12 year olds need 11 hours. Those who are 13 to 18 need nine hours of sleep each night.
The problem for many is that they are sacrificing sleep time for time playing computer games, browsing the internet, texting and watching TV. Homework is also a culprit. Homework has increased by 50 percent over the last 30 years with younger elementary school students receiving the brunt of it. Many older students are downing caffeine to stay awake and keep up with all of their school work.
What can you do to help your child get enough rest?
Parents have a tough job, but among their long list of responsibilities should also be ensuring their children get enough sleep. As the saying goes, children will “do as you do, not as you say.” The first step is for parents to recognize the importance of quality sleep and to make it a priority for the entire family (including the parents).
Create quality sleep habits such as removing televisions and computers from a child’s bedroom (and your own) that can add too much temptation to stay up late. Other steps you can take include:
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Encouraging daily exercise
- Avoiding caffeine
- Not letting your child go to bed hungry and avoiding heavy meals within two hours of bedtime
- Planning an hour of quiet time before bed that doesn’t include television, homework, computers or other electronics (reading is always a good choice)
Encouraging good sleep habits and placing importance on quality rest offers a host of benefits including improved school performance, increased energy to enjoy sports and other activities, better relationships – and most of all, you’ll be providing an invaluable gift of a better foundation for lifelong health and happiness.
-The Alternative Daily