Sunday, September 25, 2011

Primary School Children Need At Least 9 Hours of Sleep

Lack of Sleep Hurts Kids' Academic Performance

A joint research carried out by Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB in Spanish) and Ramon Llull University, published in the journal Cultura y EducaciĆ³n, indicates that children sleeping less than nine hours and with bad sleeping habits - such as going to bed late - do worse academically.

The study was carried out in several schools with 142 children aged 6 and 7 showed that when these children go to bed late and sleep less than nine hours each night, their academic skills suffer along with their memory and motivation.

"Most children sleep less than is recommended for their intellectual development, which is hindered because the lack of sleep cannot be recovered," Ramon Cladellas, a researcher at the faculty of psychology at the UAB said.

Cladellas and colleagues found that the children slept nearly eight hours each night, but 69 percent of them didn't get home until after 9 p.m. at least three nights per week. The children also went to bed after 11 p.m. at least four nights per week.

As a result, the study revealed, the young students that slept just eight or nine hours each night performed more poorly in school than those who slept nine to 11 hours a night.

"Taking into account the results obtained, we believe that more than nine hours' sleep and a nightly routine favors academic performance," Cladellas stated in the release.

Missing sleep and bad bedtime habits had a significant negative effect on certain skills linked to academic performance. To a lesser extent, lack of sleep also adversely affected skills related to cognition, such as memory, learning and motivation.

The lacking hours of sleep distorts children's performance in linguistic knowledge, grammar and spelling rules, and key aspects in the organization and comprehension of texts, to name a few examples.

“They are basic skills, meaning that if the pupil, due to a lack of sleep, develops problems in this area, it could have a repercussion on all subjects," explained Cladellas.

"Nowadays, there is great concern because children are glued to the television, computers and videogames, but the same importance is not given to them going to bed at the same time every night," he added.

The Zestzfulness Team underscores the Spanish authors’ exhortation that young kids should have good bedtime routines and healthy sleep habits that include at least nine hours of shut-eye each night to help ensure they perform their best in school. Lack of sleep has also been linked to childhood obesity, CLICK HERE for our report of May 8, 2011

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestfulness Team) from materials downloaded from the newsroom of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, on Sept. 13, 2011.

Journal Reference:

Cladellas R, Chamarro A, Badia M, Oberst U, Carbonell X. Effects of sleeping hours and sleeping habits on the academic performance of six- and seven-year-old children: A preliminary study. Cultura y EducaciĆ³n, 2011;23(1):119-128.

Additional resources:

The Nemours Foundation has more about healthy sleep for kids.

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