Children who are better rested will generally behave better in school. That’s not a surprising bit of information, but a new study shows that small changes in the amount of sleep can make a big difference.
Researchers from McGill University found that elementary-schoolers who got less sleep were more likely to lose emotional control in the classroom. They cried and got angry more often and also seemed more impulsive than their well-rested counterparts.
The study included 34 children (33 finished the study) between ages 7 and 11, who all got about nine hours of sleep per night at the start of the study. For five nights, half of them had their bedtimes adjusted so that they slept one fewer hour of sleep a night, while the other half had their bedtimes adjusted so they had one more hour of sleep a night.
The researchers had the children’s teachers — who were unaware of which kids got more sleep and which kids got less sleep — rate their behavior during that week to find how sleep affected their behavior and coping skills throughout the day.
For more information how much sleep your child should be getting, check out this SleepBetter article: How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?