Sleep Impact on School Performance
By Krista Harper, Guest Writer
One of the most important things our bodies do, is sleep. Having quality sleep is crucial for everyone, specifically children. Missing out on a proper sleep cycle effects cell regeneration along with physical and brain growth. The effects of sleep deficiency can build up gradually, becoming serious issues in the future. Among other factors affected by this is a big one: school performance, and the many components that are needed to make a successful school day.
Lack of Focus
For the mind to understand and retain information, students need to be focused while in class. In certain studies, 48% of students reported getting less than eight hours of sleep. As a result, most of them are busy battling sleep instead of absorbing information. Students may be attending class physically, but their minds aren’t. Lack of focus leads to children attempting to cram a lot of information in a short time before exams, causing them to fail.
School-age children that are not getting enough sleep, struggle to retain the information they learn. Without sleep, they’re missing out on the brain’s crucial self-repair mode, which grows and develops hundreds of millions neural connections. Specifically for young ones, this process is critical in helping achieve their true potential. During this sleep cycle, the mind can properly consolidate the events of the day and place them into long-term memory. Without this part of the process, children grapple with remembering the details of what was taught in class.
Inhibits Creative Problem Solving
As hinted at previously, sleep plays quite a huge part in a child’s cognitive processes. One integral skill affected is problem-solving. Sleep deficiency impairs this, along with; alertness, attention, reasoning, and concentration, which results in rigid thinking. Depravation causes difficulties with utilizing new information required for complex decision-making. End results include errors and frustrations, all of which makes learning difficult.
To Help Your Child Get Better Sleep
- Establish a Bedtime Routine: A regular bedtime routine starting around the same time each night encourages good sleep patterns. A routine of bath, story and bed can help younger children feel ready for sleep. For older children, the routine might include a quiet chat with you about the day then some time alone relaxing before lights out.
- Monitor Time for Naps: Most children stop napping at 3-5 years of age. If your child over five years is still napping during the day, try to keep the nap to no longer than 20 minutes and no later than early afternoon. Longer and later naps can make it harder for children to get to sleep at night.
- Increase Natural Light Exposure: Encourage your child to get as much natural light as possible during the day, especially in the morning. Bright light suppresses melatonin. This helps your child feel awake and alert during the day and sleepy towards bedtime.
- Eliminate Devices Before Bed: Devices, such as smartphones and tablets, contribute to most children not getting enough sleep. Establishing a rule about going to bed without any devices, ensures that they are going directly to bed and have no possible disturbances throughout the night.
- Add to Comfort: White noise generators can do wonders to eliminate noise and provide an environment conducive for sleeping. Nightlights help erase your child’s fears and sleep better.
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The deeply interconnected processes between sleep, mental health, and the ability to focus, inherently link with school performance. Better sleep for children leads to minds feeling rested, sharp, and alert. All excellent qualities creating a prime state for learning. A well-rested student can grasp complex concepts and internalize them all without complications, leading to a successful school day.