Many of us know that we don’t get enough sleep or worry that we don’t sleep well, but how much attention do we pay to our children’s sleep pattern. These days many children have computers and /or TVs in their bedrooms and I have heard of teenagers playing video games all night and then sleeping at school.
Last week an article on the BBC news website highlighted a recent study by Boston College in the USA which showed American school students to be the worst sleep deprived in the world. The study found that 73% of 9 and 10 year olds and 80% of 13 and 14 year olds were reported by their teachers as being affected by sleep deprivation. But this appeared to be a problem in all affluent countries including New Zealand, Australia, France and England.
The researchers linked these findings to the use of mobile phones and computers in bedrooms. Certainly my young female relatives seem to be texting most of the night!
Researchers from the Trends in /International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) believe than children who get more sleep achieve higher in maths, science and literacy. Lack of sleep affects concentration and focus which can affect performance in tests, but also means that teachers have to modify their lessons so all the class can keep up.
Asian countries are highest performing in maths tests and this has always been attributed to after-school tutoring and cramming, but could be related to the amount of sleep they are getting.
We are now in the exam season in the UK and I have certainly been getting my son to bed by 10pm, restricting light levels an hour before bedtime and he has no electronic equipment in the bedroom. He says he is feeling less tired than on usual school days when he has to get up early and is often doing homework on the computer until late.
The full article can be accessed here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22209818