You are here: grownupsmag.comHealthCounting Sheep

Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep
Just how important is a good night’s sleep? A child’s lack of sleep will adversely affect school performance, behavior, and more!

Counting SheepThink 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.

About the author

Grown Ups

Grown Ups

Grown Ups Magazine is a free resource for parents, teachers, extended family, or anyone who lives or works with kids. Enjoy digital issues of Grown Ups on your iPad, iPhone, or at

  • Cathi

    I think I need to concentrate on the good sleep habits we try to teach our grandkids! Thanks so much!!

  • Getting the right amount of sleep is so important for both parents and kids. We should all work on healthy sleep habits!

  • Shannon

    This is important for everyone. Thank you sharing.

  • lisa

    I wish that I could sleep like I did when I was younger. Sleep is important for all of us.

  • Jana | Merlot Mommy

    Wow! I don’t think my kids get enough sleep after reading this article! We’ll have to work to get them another hour or two of sleep each night!

  • Katie

    We have really worked hard to get better sleep patterns in place for our boys. My youngest really needs aruond 10 hours at 7 years old to behave well and function in homeschool the way we need him to.

  • I always kept an early and strict bedtime for my children. We fought at our school to have the school start time pushed back an hour because of this very reason. Thanks for letting more parent know of the importance of sleep for children.

  • Jen St Germain Leeman

    My daughter, like me, knows the value of a good night’s sleep. I STILL need 8 hours to function at my best!

  • Slap Dash Mom

    I am a good sleeper, as is my youngest daughter. My oldest daughter, too, though my middle daughter can run on 4 hours of sleep! I could never do that.

  • Diane Nassy

    I definitely need to get more sleep, but my son gets 10 hours on school nights.

  • Tatanisha Worthey

    Great tips for kids AND adults– including me. I know the nights I get a lot of sleep I do better! I do make sure my kids get the proper amount of sleep and I need to take this advice as well!!

  • I very seldom get the hours I need and I can definitely tell the difference.

Read More