Is your child suddenly having problems keeping his grades up or behaving at school? Many parents have no idea that sleep and school performance actually go hand in hand. Sleep disorders in children can have a big influence on everything from how well they can concentrate while doing their schoolwork to how well they interact with other kids. There are some pretty big reasons why sleep or lack of quality sleep can have a detrimental effect on your child's learning, as well as social and classroom behavior.
Children who don't get enough sleep have a difficult time with concentration.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, children between the ages of 6 and 13 should be getting somewhere between 9 and 11 hours of sleep. Yet many school-age children do good to get in just 7 or 8 hours of sleep due to busy schedules, parents who work late hours, or having an overload of extracurricular activities. Those kids who don't get enough sleep on a school night are more likely to easily lose focus in the classroom, often having a difficult time concentrating long enough to complete their assignments in a timely manner.
Kids without enough sleep are more irritable.
It is common knowledge that when youngsters don't get enough sleep, they can get pretty grumpy and cranky. While this behavior may be manageable at home, in the classroom, irritability due to sleep disorders or lack of sleep can be a huge deal. Kids who are grumpy because of sleep deprivation may be more likely to act out in the classroom, not pay attention to the teacher's instructions, and even get into altercations with fellow classmates simply because their reasoning skills are inhibited by groggy judgment.
There could be a link between sleep deprivation and ADHD.
ADHD is a huge problem in the United States, affecting as many as 5% of all children. This disorder is characterized by symptoms such as:
- Inability to focus and remember
- Difficulty sleeping
- Problems with remaining seated or still for long periods
Many recent studies have shown a potential link between ADHD and sleep disorders in children, suggesting that it may be possible that lack of good and healthy sleep patterns may contribute to the development of the disorder instead of the other way around. For this reason, it is crucial that you ensure your child is given the opportunity to get enough sleep from an early age.
What can you do as a parent to help your child get enough sleep?
The basis for healthy sleeping habits for your children starts with you as a parent. Do what you can to ensure your child has a designated bedtime that is followed as closely as possible.
- Change your own schedule – If your work schedule is making it difficult for your little one to get to bed on time, do some rearranging of your schedule or hire a sitter.
- Reduce activities – If your child is struggling to get everything done and make it to sleep at a timely hour, consider cutting back on extracurricular activities.
- Set the stage – Follow a bedtime routine to help your child wind down and prepare for sleep. Use low lighting and make sure your child has their own peaceful place to sleep. Provide your child with a comfortable sleeping space by investing in a quality mattress.
- Put electronics to bed first – Cutting back on electronic usage a while before bedtime may help your child fall asleep faster.
- Seek medical advice – It is also a good idea to talk to your pediatrician to learn more about sleep disorders in children.