How’s your child doing in school? An improvement in his grades may be no further away than a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is a complex process with many stages including drowsiness, moderate sleep, deep restorative sleep, and dream sleep. Dream sleep, when we work through problems from our waking life, is better known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep.
Children who don’t get enough REM sleep have trouble concentrating during the school day. Sleep is so important that many educators are actually starting to ask parents whose children regularly come to school groggy and unfocused, “what time does your child go to bed?” Often it’s too late and the child doesn’t get important REM sleep, affecting their focus and attention the next school day.
Stanley Coren, sleep specialist and author of Sleep Thieves explains that without enough restorative sleep, kids are being robbed of the ability to concentrate at school. “If your child is having problems in school, especially behavior or attention problems, then one of the first things you should ask yourself is if your child is getting enough sleep? You can test that by having the child go to sleep an hour or so earlier and if the child then starts to perform better after a week on that regime, then you know that part of the problem was that the child was not getting enough sleep.”
One reason for the lack of sleep in many school aged kids is that they live by their parents’ schedule, meaning they’re getting to bed late, rising early and averaging about eight hours of sleep a night. But eight is not enough when it comes to kids and sleep. Most school aged kids need about ten hours or more of sleep per night.
Sleep deprivation leads to a temporary loss in IQ levels, reasoning and memory, and even makes kids a little hyper” says Coren. “A lot of attention deficit symptoms are really due to sleep deprivation. Often when kids are tired they act out as though they are self-stimulating in order to stay awake.”
So remember, when it comes to your child, eight is definitely not enough. Hitting the hay for about ten hours will help to keep your child’s school performance at it’s peak.
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.
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