Sleep to be successful in school

Am I telling you to encourage your child to sleep at school? NO! If your child is sleeping at school or falling asleep doing homework, it means that your child is not getting the proper amount and / or quality of sleep at night.

Your child’s dream has a significant impact on his performance in school.

For our children to be healthy, they need good nutrition, exercise, and enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says that our elementary school children, ages 5 to 12, need 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. The quality and quantity of sleep determines learning and retention of that learning.

Clinical psychologist Reut Gruber, director of the Attention, Behavior and Sleep Laboratory at the Douglas Research Center in Quebec, Canada, led a research team that examined the sleep of 75 children between 7 and 11 years old. This study looked at the effect on children’s ratings based on the quality of their sleep.

“Short or poor sleep is a significant risk factor for poor academic performance that is often ignored,” says Gruber. The study looked at the effect of poor quality sleep in several subject areas.

According to the study, Gruber says: “For math and languages, we need to use skills called ‘executive functions’, like working memory, planning, not getting distracted. The hardware that supports those skills is in the frontal cortex of the brain. brain, which is very sensitive to the effects of poor sleep or insufficient sleep. “

Lack of sleep also affects your child’s behavior in the classroom. Sleep-deprived children have a harder time controlling their emotions and impulses.

“We know that sleep deprivation can affect memory, creativity, verbal creativity, and even things like judgment and motivation and being (engaged) in the classroom,” explains Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

As a sleep consultant, I teach sleep hygiene for children and train families to develop healthy sleep habits.

My Five Sleep Habits for School-Age Children:

1. Constant time to go to bed and wake up

The same bedtime each night sets the body’s 24-hour rhythm. The chosen bedtime should allow the child to receive the recommended 10-11 hours of sleep per night. A consistent bedtime will teach your child’s body to anticipate and be ready for sleep. Make sleep a priority by making bedtime a priority.

2. Routine at bedtime

Twenty to thirty minutes before bedtime is the preparation for sleep. The blue lights of television, pads and smartphone screens awaken the brain. Therefore, do not watch the screen for 30 minutes before going to bed.

The child should not go to bed hungry, but should finish eating about two hours before bedtime. Avoid caffeine about six hours before bedtime.

Develop a routine to follow each night before bed. It can include a bath, pajamas and reading a book together and / or alone.

3. Bedroom environment

The room must be dark. Use curtains or curtains that darken the room to keep the room dark at night or early in the morning.

The room temperature should be between 67 and 72 degrees.

4. White noise

Background or white noise blocks other sounds in your home or neighborhood that could interrupt your child’s sleep. White noise machines should be placed within 5 feet of your child. A fan can also be used for white noise.

5. Sleeping is a privilege. Don’t use going to bed as punishment. Sleep is as important as food to your child. Teach your child to value his dream.

Have a school year of healthy learning and sleep for your children!


Sleep efficiency (but not sleep duration) of healthy school-age children is associated with math and language scores, by Reut Gruber, Gail Somerville, Paul Enros, Soukaina Paquin, Myra Kestler, Elizabeth Gillies-Poitras is published in Sleep Medicine magazine:

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