Just A Little More Sleep Makes Kids Ready To Learn

When children get just a little more sleep each night, their school behavior and alertness levels improve, new research suggests. From HealthDay News:

“‘Even small changes in daily life that can allow children to add about a half hour of sleep could have a significant impact,’ said study author Reut Gruber, director of the attention behavior and sleep lab at the Douglas Institute at McGill University, in Quebec. The finding is published online Oct. 15 and in the November print issue of Pediatrics.

For the research, Gruber randomly assigned 34 children, aged 7 to 11, to one of two groups. One group had their sleep restricted, with bedtimes moved back so they lost an hour of sleep, for five nights straight. The other group had their bedtimes moved up, so they gained an hour of sleep time for five consecutive nights. The children wore wrist-watch like devices, called actigraphs, to record their sleep.

Gruber found the sleep-extension group slept on average just 27 additional minutes a night. Those in the restricted group slept, on average, 54 minutes less a night. At the study start, both groups slept, on average, about nine hours. Children in this age group should sleep 10 or 11 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Teachers rated the children on standard measures of behavior, such as impulsivity, restlessness and emotional ability. They also noted daytime sleepiness. Those in the extra sleep group did better, showing improvement in alertness, behavior and emotions, the researchers found. Those in the restricted group had declining scores on alertness.

Even though the children in the study, on average, were getting a fair amount of sleep—nine hours or so—they still did better when they got more sleep.” Read more here.

Good to know that even a small change can make a big difference in how ready kids are to learn in school.

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