With kids going back to school, there always seems to be an awkward transition period of readjusting to school sleep schedules. We all know how important it is for them to be well rested for school, but a new study from the journal, Sleep Medicine, found one more reason to add! The study observed that educating children on the importance of sleep allowed them to get 20 more minutes of sleep per night! Surprisingly enough, those added 20 minutes also produced higher grades in both math and English for those students.
Researchers in Montreal instigated a 6-week sleep education program at an elementary school. Students were taught proper sleep hygiene, good bedtime routines, the consequences of poor sleep, what prevents quality sleep, and why sleep is so important. Letters were also sent home to parents with summaries of what was taught about sleep.
At the conclusion of the study, the children who participated in the sleep program slept 18.2 minutes longer per night and fell asleep 2.3 minutes quicker. Additionally, on a 100 point scale, these students improved their grades in math and English by more than 2 percentage points. There was also a distinct enhancement to the kid’s daytime functioning and performance in class.
It makes a lot of sense! We think to educate our children on the importance of brushing their teeth to safety while using the stove to maintaining a clean room – why wouldn’t we also be sure to implement good sleep hygiene practices?
“Sleep should not be negotiated every night, and there should be a consistent bedtime every night. Teach kids that sleep is a priority,” advised psychologist Reut Gruber, director of the Attention Behavior and Sleep Lab at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.
It’s also worth noting that different kinds of interventions with the intent to improve sleep were not as effective in raising student’s grades. Gruber pointed out that this is the first reported intervention with documented improvements in grades and sleep.
While there are always going to be competing activities and responsibilities, making time to teach your child about appropriate sleep hygiene can be of great help to their health and grades. Not only that, but making a point to instill such knowledge may even have the wonderful side effect of helping you get some much needed and quality rest!