Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Poor Academic Performance

As students are getting back on schedule and preparing for the school year, I feel that it is important that parents understand the importance of routine and sleep for academic success. This is Part 1 of a multi-part series of things you should consider as you prepare your child for a successful year!

How much sleep does your son or daughter need?

7-12 Years Old : 10 - 11 hours per day
At these ages, with social, school, and family activities, bedtimes gradually become later and later, with most 12-years-olds going to bed at about 9 p.m. There is still a wide range of bedtimes, from 7:30 - 10 p.m., as well as total sleep times, from 9 - 12 hours, although the average is only 9 ½ hours.

Sleep needs do not decrease and remain vitally important to your child's health, development, and well-being. Without the proper amount of sleep, your child will become increasingly sleepy during the day. Those children with a history of sleep problems see them persist. They do not "outgrow them."

In his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Marc Weissbluth, MD, sums up what you may find in children who routinely do not get the sleep they need, with a bit of a Catch 22: "School achievement difficulties were found more often among poor sleepers compared to good sleepers.... Young children who have difficulty sleeping become older children with more academic problems. But children who are academically successful risk not getting the sleep they need!"

12-18 Years Old : 8 ¼ - 9 ½ hours per day
Sleep needs remain just as vital to health and well-being for teenagers as when they were younger. It turns out that many teenagers over 15 actually need more sleep than in previous years. Now, however, social pressures conspire against getting the proper amount and quality of sleep.

Teens are not getting the sleep they once did, and many have difficulty falling asleep and frequently wake up at night. This is not normal, and all this is taking a toll. Sleep deprivation is associated with mood changes and behavioral problems, including conduct disorders and inattention.

One study of U.S. high school students found that 13% were chronically sleep-deprived. Other international studies confirm the global nature of this problem. Not getting enough sleep and not sleeping well is not OK.

SOURCES: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. A step-by-step program for a good night's sleep, March Weissbluth, MD. 1999. Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, Richard Ferber, MD, 1985. Sleeping Through the Night, How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, Jodi Mindell, PhD, 1997.

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Great show today on the learning styles of African American children

No. Really, why can't he Read?