Want to Improve School Performance? Have Healthy Sleep Habits

Healthy Sleep Habits

Despite doing piles of assessment books and homework, your child may still be underperforming in school. Your child’s poor sleeping habits may be the culprit. Several studies have found that having a lack of sleep or even disrupted sleep would reduce their performance in school. [1] [2] [3]

Sleep is regarded to be necessary for skills like problem solving, memory retention and the learning of language and Mathematics. A lack of sleep can also lead to behavioural issues such as poor concentration and attention. Furthermore, it also leads one to have lower control over emotions.

Sleep Quantity vs Sleep Quality

Unhealthy sleep habits leading to a lack of sleep and poor sleep quality affects school performance. Primary school students should be getting between 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night [4]. The quality of sleep is influenced by the number of times a person wakes up at night. The more times a person awakes, the more mediocre the sleep quality.

A study published in The Straits Times in 2016 [1] found that the quantity and quality of sleep affect different parts of school performance. Better sleep quantity led to better grades. However, better sleep quality was related to cognitive processing skills. Hence, both sleep quantity and quality are essential to boost your child’s grades.

Irregular sleep patterns also negatively affect grades. One study with college students found that students with irregular sleep patterns performed worse than those who slept at the same time each night [2].

This is due to the body’s circadian clock. Melatonin is released in our bodies at night due to a signal by our circadian clock. The circadian clock is pushed back to a later “timing” if melatonin is released later than usual.

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Many factors affect sleep. Try using these tips for healthy sleep habits.

1)    Keep Regular Bedtimes.
This may be tiring for parents to enforce. However, encouraging your child to sleep at the same time every night will help his or her body to get into a rhythm. Keep bedtime constant even on weekends. By keeping bedtimes constant, parents would have to enforce that their children do not oversleep over the weekends. Instead, it is advised that children wake up at regular timing.

2)    Avoid caffeine.
Some people need their caffeine fix to stay awake. However, have the cup in the morning or early afternoons. Drinking caffeine too late in the day will affect the ability to fall asleep.

3)    Avoid Using Mobile Devices at Bedtime.
Blue light from these devices may decrease the level of sleepiness. Try switching these off at least an hour before sleep.

4)    Avoid long naps.
Long duration of naps can make it harder for children to fall asleep at night. Naps should be limited to 20 minutes.

5)    Relax.
Having a routine of regular before-bedtime activities helps. Do a calming activity like deep breathing exercises, listening to light music or meditating.

Putting the books aside and having healthy sleep habits will improve your child’s school performance and even behaviour. After all, a healthy sleep makes a happy child. Cultivating a practice of good sleep will take time. However, they are easier to form in childhood compared to when the kids are older.

Sources:

[1] http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/study-shows-teens-sleep-habits-affect-grades

[2] http://college.usatoday.com/2017/06/12/this-simple-sleep-habit-might-be-the-secret-to-better-grades/

[3] http://time.com/3663796/for-better-grades-let-your-kids-sleep-more/

[4] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep/page/0/2

 

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