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Quality Sleep and Academics

Would you encourage your children to sleep more if I told you it affects their academic performance?

Prior to sleep training my first baby, I noticed the effects of disturbed sleep.  He was happy most days, but I started to notice he falling asleep while eating his lunch.  I was concerned as it continued for a couple more days.  I knew he was falling asleep because of his poor sleep schedule at night and I felt extremely guilty.  Waking up every 3-4 hours was taking a toll on him.  This is one of the main reasons why we decided to sleep train him.

Many studies have been done on the effects of sleep in children.  Researchers have found a link between academic performances and sleep efficiency.  Sleep efficiency defines how well you are sleeping at night.  Your child may be sleeping 10 hours each night, but how many hours of that is spent really sleeping?  “Simply put, you go to bed, you lie down and spend time in bed, but if you’re not able to sleep through the time in bed, that’s not efficient sleep.”

If your child is sleeping less than the recommended hours of sleep, you need to reevaluate their schedule.  The National Sleep Foundation encourages healthy sleep habits and emphasizes a strong bedtime routine and sleep schedule.

Poor sleep can affect children at a very young age.  In order to be successful academically, children need to “focus, concentrate and retain information, and be creative problem solvers”.  These skills depend highly on good quality sleep.

Poor sleep habits in children often sets the stage for problems in sleep in adults.  If you encourage good sleep habits in your child early on and you are consistent with their schedule, it will boost their learning.  “Neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst taught a group of 40 preschoolers a game similar to Memory. Then the kids took a nap (averaging 77 minutes) one week and stayed awake the other week. When they stayed awake they forgot 15 percent of what they’d learned, but when they napped they retained everything. The kids scored better on the game not only after they’d just woken up but the next day too.”

There are many other benefits of good sleep.  Watch for sleepy cues from your child, or simply analyze their behavior throughout the day to ensure they are getting the sleep they need.

If you need help identifying whether or not your child is getting enough sleep, contact me for a free consultation and we can go over sleep requirements that are age appropriate.

October 5th, 2017

Anita Patel
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
(416) 885-2235

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