How can I help my child do better at school? This question is probably asked by most parents and the answers will most certainly vary greatly. Some will challenge their children to work harder while others might look to tutoring services or even a change in diet – all good options. Have you ever thought about looking at your child’s sleep patterns?
With how busy we all are it tends to be easier to cut back on sleep rather than cut back on other things. With today’s work schedules, homework assignments, sports and music practices and a host of other commitments, it’s often easier to sacrifice sleep than something else...but at what cost?
In reviewing some web sites lately, I came across the following statistics that you might find interesting:
- “Sleep is an active, repetitive and reversible behaviour serving several different functions, such as repair and growth, learning or memory consolidation, and restorative processes: all these occur throughout the brain and the body.” (Curcio et al. 2006)
- Children's brains transform subconsciously learned material into active knowledge while they sleep -- even more effectively than adult brains do, according to a study by Dr. Ines Wilhelm of the University of Tübingen's Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology.
- Small but constant deficits in sleep over time tend to have escalating and perhaps long-term effects on brain function.
- Children with higher IQs -- in every age group studied -- slept longer.
- For ADHD children, improvements in sleep dramatically improved peer relations and classroom performance.
- Healthy sleep positively affects neurologic development and appears to be the right medicine for the prevention of many learning and behavioral problems.
- About 69 percent of children 10 and under experience some type of sleep problem, according to the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) 2004 Sleep in America poll.
- How much sleep is appropriate for my child?
- 3 - 5 years old: 10 - 12 hours
- 5 - 12 years old: 10 - 12 hours
- Watching television, movies, or video games close to bedtime may all contribute to a loss of sleep. Although we may feel and appear calm when enjoying these types of entertainment, our minds are excited.