More Sleep for Children Linked to Improved Alertness, Behavior

As many parents are scheduling teacher conferences this month, a new study shows that children who increase their sleep time by just 27 minutes behaved better at school.

Canadian researchers followed a group of 37 children between the ages of 7 to 11 who had no reported problems with sleep, behavior or academics. They found that those who lost nearly an hour of sleep – 54 minutes – were not as able to control their emotions or behavior at school.

But those who slept 27 minutes longer than normal had a “significant improvement in their ability to regulate their emotions, including limiting restless-impulsive behavior in school,” according to the study published in Pediatrics, the journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends children between the ages of 5 and 12 sleep from 10 to 11 hours every night.

To help your child establish healthy sleep habits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends:

  • Consistently use a regular bedtime each night.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Keep bedrooms dark and quiet.
  • Set the temperature so bedrooms are not too hot or cold.
  • Avoid giving children caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid feeding meals to children close to bedtime.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics news release, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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