Children and teens require more sleep than adults to perform at their best. Even with marginally more sleep, they’ll be better prepared both physically and mentally to perform to the best of their abilities.
In a perfect world, you could let your son or daughter in on this nugget of wisdom, and they would quickly adopt sleeping habits which are conducive to good grades.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world.
Nevertheless, here are six reasons you should strive to get your kids to sleep more. Their grades will improve, and they’ll likely be a lot more charming and co-operative at home, too!
Have you ever noticed that when you have a restful night’s sleep, you tend to have better recall for names, to-dos, and basic facts?
The same goes for your kids. It might be tempting to let your kids stay up to all hours of the night studying and cramming for a test. It’s better for their brains to study earlier in the day, catch some zeds, and then approach the test or exam with a refreshed mindset.
The Sleep Foundation has done thorough studies, and discovered that a good night’s sleep:
- Prepares the brain to absorb data into memory
- Process the information, and reason through it for understanding
- Retain the information, and prepare the brain to return facts/info when needed
If you haven’t left this page to find out how to join The Sleep Foundation, you can do your own studies at home. If your whole family starts to get more sleep, you’ll remove the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) factor of staying up late, and help everyone’s memory to recall how helpful this blog was.
Not to mention, your son or daughter will improve their memory of when they need to do homework, take out the garbage, or do the dishes!
2. Anxiety Relief
When your kids sleep, their brain produces serotonin and norepinephrine chemicals, which help to reduce stress and anxiousness. These chemicals are created by your brain’s neurotransmitters when allowed to rest during deep (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
The kind you have when you dream.
If you were an anxious child, you might remember how it was difficult to do your best at school when you felt nervous or stressed out at school. You might still feel that way at work.
3. Healthy Lifestyle = Better Sleep
Many of the behaviours which are beneficial to good performance at school, are the same which lead to good health.
- A balanced, healthy diet
- Limiting stimulants like caffeine, screen time and sugar
- Getting enough fresh air
If your child has healthy meals, snacks and stays away from too many soft drinks and chocolate bars, they’ll likely find it’s easier to sleep. It’s a good idea to have your son or daughter get outside and burn off some anxiety by playing a sport, riding a bike, or taking a walk.
By enjoying these activities with your child, you’ll improve your own sleep patterns.
4. How Much Sleep Is Enough?
If you have a teenager, or teenagers in your house, encourage them to get as close to nine hours of sleep as you can. It may seem like a lot, but it’s the recommended amount of light and deep sleep, according to the US National Institute of Health. (See link just above).
Infants should get sixteen hours of sleep, and children should get something in between.
Sleep deprivation may seem like a great idea when a favorite TV show is on, or a video game achievement is just within reach, but consistent shortage of sleep will cause a neurological “crash” of sorts, once your sleep bank is overdrawn.
5. Sharpen Attention
Attention in class is critical. If you find your teen or child isn’t paying attention to you at home, their teacher(s) are likely seeing the same behaviour. Focus and attention are directly impacted by the amount of sleep you have, so encourage your child to get a full eight or nine hours.
If you can avoid arguments at bedtime, you’ll create the best environment for sleeping for everyone. Conflict, as you know, builds up stress or excitement. Try reading a story, encouraging your child to read a paper book, and try to build consistent habits before bed, so life is predictable. An hour of quiet, calmness and serenity before bed is a good way to ease into sleep. When kids don’t get enough sleep, they tend to get hyperactive, as opposed to tired like adults.
6. Improve Creativity
A rested brain can also spur creativity, as it can source different regions of the brain, and create relationships between thoughts better. The attributes above can help improve memory and logic for classes like math, history or science. If you have a child who is very artistic, it’s a good idea to remind them once in awhile that more sleep can stimulate their creativity too!
If your child can focus and maintain their attention for extended periods in the classroom, and retain what they are taught more effectively, their academic performance is sure to improve.
Sleep also helps improve metabolism, which can help to reduce weight. If your child is struggling with weight issues, encourage them to adopt healthier behaviours including diet, sleep and exercise, and their academic performance could benefit.
If your child is struggling in school, try encouraging sleep as a way to cope with the stress and demands of the school day. Calm, supportive conversations, as opposed to conflict and argument is the best way to encourage good sleep habits.