Sleep at night to learn in the day

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - @SCHOOL - with greg whitby

PAR­ENTS of­ten ask: what can be done to im­prove my child’s learn­ing? While there are many things at the school level, what hap­pens at home can also im­pact on a child’s well­be­ing and learn­ing out­comes.

Par­ents play an im­por­tant role in en­cour­ag­ing and mod­el­ling good habits espe­cially around such things as tech­nol­ogy use, nu­tri­tion and sleep. Re­search shows that sleep is not only ben­e­fi­cial to a child’s long-term health and well­be­ing but also has an im­pact on their aca­demic per­for­mance.

When young peo­ple are not get­ting enough sleep, they may find it harder to con­cen­trate dur­ing the day and re­tain new in­for­ma­tion.

Stud­ies in the US have shown that high school stu­dents who re­ported longer sleep times at night had higher grades.

The re­search sug­gests more than 30 per cent of Aus­tralian pri­mary stu­dents are not get­ting suf­fi­cient sleep each night with Aus­tralian teenagers among the most sleep-de­prived in the world.

One of the rea­sons sug­gested for the in­crease in sleep dis­tur­bance was ex­po­sure to mo­bile de­vices espe­cially be­fore bed­time.

Not only can the type of con­tent keep them awake but the blue light emit­ted from dig­i­tal (TV, lap­tops, phones, tablets, etc) and LED light­ing in­ter­feres with the nat­u­ral hor­mone mela­tonin.

Mela­tonin sends a mes­sage to the brain that it is time to sleep.

The rec­om­men­da­tion is that chil­dren as well as adults have at least an hour gap be­tween be­ing on a de­vice and sleep time. Re­mov- ing tech­nol­ogy from bed­rooms is im­por­tant as well as hav­ing a con­sis­tent shut­down time ev­ery night.

It is sug­gested that preschool­ers (three to five years) need 10-13 hours a night, school-aged chil­dren (six to 13 years) re­quire nine to 11 hours and teenagers (14-17 years) about eight to 10 hours.

While sleep rou­tines are the do­main of par­ents and car­ers, schools can also be of sup­port. There are many ex­am­ples of schools that have in­tro­duced ear­lier or later start times to en­sure school doesn’t in­ter­fere with sleep.

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