Sleep and School Performance
Sleep is as important to the human body as food and water. It is an active and vital state that builds and nourishes mental and physical health. Sleep stocks your memory banks. It soothes your emotions. It pumps up your muscles, eases stress, and boosts your immune system. Do
you know that Americans sleep less than seven hours on average? Insufficient sleep causes the physiological state known as fatigue -- a fatigued person is accident prone and more likely to make mistakes, has difficulty remembering things and is likely to make bad decisions. If that isn’t enough, lack of sleep can also be linked to increased risk of emotional problems such as depression, moodiness, and hyperactivity, and when it comes to kids or teens, we don’t need more of that.

Sleep aids memory! Without enough sleep, kids lack the ability to concentrate at school and remember what they have learned. Sleep helps us to encode information in the hippocampus, it helps us consolidate information moving important memories to long term storage in the brain’s cortex,  and it aids us to retrieve stored information. Many studies have shown that sleeping, particularly soon after learning, promotes memory -- sleep actually improves retention of facts by 20 to 40 percent.

Sleep doesn’t just improve learning and retention but it also governs our emotional state. If your child has had problems in school or at home, especially with behavior or attention problems, one of the first things you should ask yourself is if your child is getting enough sleep.

More often than not, today’s kids live by their parents' schedules, meaning they're getting to bed late, rising early and averaging less than eight hours of sleep a night. Most school aged kids need about ten hours or more of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation leads to a temporary loss in IQ levels, reasoning and memory, and even makes kids a little hyper. In fact, many attention deficit symptoms may be due to sleep deprivation. Often, when kids are tired they act out as though they are self stimulating in order to stay awake.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation in children:

Sleep deprivation affects children in different ways to adults. Sleepy children tend to 'speed up'
rather than slow down. Symptoms include:

● Moodiness and irritability
● Temper tantrums / Behavior problems
● The tendency to emotionally 'explode' at the slightest provocation
● Over-activity and hyperactive behavior
● Daytime naps
● Grogginess when they wake up in the morning
● Reluctance to get out of bed in the morning.
● Memory lapses.
Effects of sleep loss on children

Selected statistics from research studies into sleep loss and its effects on children and teenagers include:

● Sleep loss causes a range of schooling problems, including naughtiness and poor
● Chronically sleep-deprived teenagers are more likely to have problems with impulse
control, which leads to risk-taking behaviors.
● Sleep problems in teenagers are associated with increased risk of disorders such as
depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
● High school students who regularly score C, D or F on school tests and assignments get,on average, half an hour less sleep per night than high school students who regularly getA and B grades.
● Later start times at school result in reduced daytime sleepiness, higher grades and
reduced negative feelings.

How much sleep is enough?

Sleep requirements differ from one person to the next, depending on age, physical activity levels, general health and other individual factors. Primary school children and even teenagers - need about 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Studies show that increasing your child's sleep by as little as half an hour can dramatically improve school performance.

What can you do to improve sleep time for your child?

Keep to a schedule even on weekends.

Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. The artificial light from the devices blocks the release of melatonin by 50 percent.

Expose them to bright light during the day

Keep the house cool at night during sleeping hours.

If your kids nap, keep them timed to no more than 30 minutes in the early afternoon.

The takeaway for parents is profound -- if you put your kids to sleep early they’ll behave and learn better. Not only that, if parents increase their sleep they too will be less irritable, better able to deal with their kids and more focused and productive. Fun fact, getting more sleep will
also keep the pounds off. Sounds like we all win!!

National Geographic
Sleep Your Brain, Body and a Better Night’s Rest, August 2020
Better Health Channel
The Parent Report
Edna P. Cáceres started in the field of teaching in an effort to help as many people as possible.  She is firm believer that given appropriate support and accommodations everyone can achieve their utmost potential. Edna's passion is helping people, even when she encounters the most difficult situations, her strength is finding solutions to what may seem to be an insurmountable obstacle.  There are no goals that cannot be reached, she whole heartedly believes that where there is a will there is way. Her strong communication and interpersonal skills help her work through bureaucratic systems and ensure that my clients receive the services they need. Director of Closing the Gaps Learning Services provide the support you need to help your kids achieve.