Is your kid tired? Improve their sleep habits.
I’m currently reading NutureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (2009). They’ve compiled some amazing research on several different aspects of parenting including the impact of sleep on academic achievement. It’s not surprising that sleep matters. I emphasize the importance of sleep with all of my clients and often see symptoms of depression and/or anxiety abate as sleep habits improve. Bronson and Merryman do a great job of pulling together the research to highlight the importance of good sleep habits in kids and teens.
For example, a research study by Avi Sadeh adjusted the bedtimes of two groups of sixth graders by 30 minutes – one group earlier, one group later. After three days, all of the kids were given the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. The results: sleep reduced kids scored an average of two grade levels below the sleep extended kids!
A study by Kyla Wahlstrom surveyed over 7,000 high schoolers about their sleep habits and grades. The results: on average kids making A’s slept 15 minutes more than kids making B’s, who slept 15 minutes more than kids making C’s, and so on.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that 90% of parents think their kids are getting enough sleep while 60% of high schoolers (94% of whom set their own bedtimes) report extreme daytime sleepiness.
The point: sleep is important – even 15 minutes. Put your kids to bed.
“National Sleep Foundation 2006 Sleep in America Summary of Findings,” National Sleep Foundation, Washington DC (2006).
Sadeh, Avi, Reut Gruber, and Amiram Raviv, “The Effects of Sleep Restriction and Extension on School-Age Children: What a Difference an Hour Makes,” Child Development, vol 74, no. 2, pp. 444-455 (2003).
Wahlstrom, Kyla L., “School Start Time Study: Technical Report Vol. II, Analysis of Student Survey Data,” Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Undated).