Think about how you feel when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Tired? Groggy? Problems remembering? Now think about your child. They have the same feeling, although on a different level. Thinking in terms of school performance, chronically tired children are at a distinct disadvantage over their better-rested peers.
Lack of sleep one night? Probably not a big deal. Lack of sleep every night? The child is certain to miss important instruction and concepts that may result in loss of skills or inability to keep up in class. Needless to say, a child’s lack of sleep is going to adversely affect school performance and behavior.
Sleep studies in children are ongoing, but the preliminary results are enough to make anyone sit up and take notice. Researchers have found that even such a small difference of 15-30 minutes of sleep per night can distinguish between students making A’s and B’s and students making mostly C’s or below.
Consider the following from the Sleep Medicine Reviews:
- Poor sleepers were less likely to meet grade level requirements
- Lack of sleep or poor sleep is as strong a predictor of school difficulties as low parental educational levels
- Students with better grades reported more total sleep on school nights than students with lower grades
- The largest variance in GPA among college students was sleep, over factors such as eating habits, time management, social supports, or stress levels
- Students in schools who started early reported more sleep problems, use of caffeine, and sleepiness than those who attended schools with a later start time.
- Tardiness, sleeping in class, inability to concentrate, decreased motivation, and behavior issues are all correlated to insufficient sleep.
How much sleep do children need? The following are guidelines:
- Preschool children aged 3-6 need 10-12 hours per day.
- School aged children aged 7-12 need 10-11 hours per day.
- Teens aged 12-18 need 8-9 hours per day.
Your performance suffers after a poor night’s sleep, and so does your child’s. A good night’s sleep is just as important as health and diet to help your child be successful in school.