A new Canadian study has found a correlation between the number of hours of sleep kids get and their behavior at school. More sleep improved kids’ behaviors and made them less restless. Children with less sleep were more likely to cry, lose their tempers or become frustrated. The study is reported in Pediatrics.
The National Institutes for Health recommend 10 hours of sleep for kids. (The article doesn’t say for what age range.)
“The children were split into two groups for the second week. One group’s parents were told to add an hour to their kids’ usual time asleep, while the other group was told to cut their sleep time by an hour.”
“Half of the children did lose an hour of sleep each night, but the other group was only able to add about 30 minutes. Still, that seemed long enough for teachers to notice an improvement in the kids’ behavior….”
“The children who got the extra 30 minutes of sleep during the second week scored, on average, about 47, meaning their behavior had improved. But the children who lost an hour of sleep each night were scored about 54.”
I don’t think there’s any doubt that a well-rested child is going to better behaved, able to concentrate and ready to work. The question is how do you help them get more sleep? They can’t sleep in so that means you have to get them to bed earlier, but that is hard with homework, dinner and sporting events.
On a related note, part of the reason my 11-year-old had her tonsils out this summer was because the doctors believed the large size of the tonsils was blocking her oxygen intake and hurting her sleep. The Ear Nose Throat doctor asked if her sheets were always crazy in the morning and he said that indicated that she was a restless sleeper. Since having her tonsils out, she sleeps so much more soundly. She is far less grumpy in the morning and when I go to wake her up the bed sheets are not in a big twist on the bed.
The ENT went on to say that many ENT’s believe having the tonsils out helps and even rids some kids of ADHD. I don’t believe better sleep will get rid of accurately diagnosed case of ADHD (it’s neuro-chemical) but I do think better sleep will help any child concentrate better and be more cooperative
So, is your child getting 10 hours of sleep a night? Could you get them to bed earlier? Do you notice a correlation between well-rested and better behavior?