Sleep & Education Go Hand in Hand

Between school, homework, chores, sports, and social lives, kids are constantly occupied. At the end of the day, they have earned a well-deserved rest to relax, recoup, and refresh their mind for the next day.

The brain is actually very active throughout the night. Trillions of nerve cells literally rewire themselves, which is how we are able to process and retain new information from the day.

Students who don’t get enough sleep have greater difficulty thinking clearly and concentrating. It’s harder to follow directions and maintain a good mood. Research shows that even just 27 extra minutes of sleep makes it easier for school-aged children to control moods and impulses, helping them to focus on schoolwork.

A good night’s sleep also improves memory and retention rate. Neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst taught a group of 40 preschools a game similar to Memory. One week after playing, they napped, and the other week, they stayed awake. When they stayed awake the forgot 15 percent of what they’d learned, but after napping they retained everything, and continued to score better the day after the nap as well.

While we sleep, our bodies produce proteins called cytokines, which fight infection, illness, and stress. Children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick, possibly taking them out of school and putting them behind. Experts are also researching how sleep protects children from vascular damage due to circulating stress hormones and arterial wall, which is linked to higher levels of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

To encourage your child’s success in school and improve their overall health, it’s important that they understand the value of sleep. Help set them up for success by enacting a consistent bedtime routine, limiting caffeinated beverages, turning off screens early, and reading them a bedtime story.

Polk County Catholic schools proclaim the Gospel message within an academic environment of excellence that challenges students to be creative and critical thinkers. To learn more, contact us online or at 407-246-4800.