Can Your Child’s Academic Performance Really Be Impacted by Poor Sleep?

It’s no secret that most people today aren’t getting enough sleep. Between modern stressors, the technology we rely on so heavily, and a lack of common knowledge regarding healthy sleeping habits, the world population has an insurmountable sleep deficit.


This is especially true for today’s children and teenagers, who suffer tremendously from inadequate sleep. While getting your child to go to bed on time and stay asleep is difficult with the phones, tablets, game systems, and other devices that they often sacrifice that time to, it is much more than a simple disciplinary issue. Your child’s lack of sleep may be costing them their education. Here’s what you need to know about the correlation between sleep loss and academic struggles in children and young adults: 


How Much Sleep Does My Child Really Need? 


Before you can determine whether or not your child is receiving too little sleep and suffering academically as a result, you need to know how much sleep is recommended for their age. 


Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Younger children – such as those aged 6-12 years – need approximately 9-11 hours. This is just a range and should be used as a guide for your child. If they are slightly over or under this range at times, it’s probably not something to be concerned about. However, pediatricians have found that a vast majority of children in Dubai and around the world are not receiving adequate sleep on a regular basis, creating health problems that could linger for a lifetime. 


How Does Poor Sleep Impact My Child’s Health?

Your child needs sleep to grow and develop in a healthy way. Sleep is the body’s restorative process, during which vital processes are carried out and the brain and body receive the rest they need after a long day. When children or teenagers do not receive adequate sleep regularly, they may suffer from daytime mental impairment, emotional imbalances, hormonal shifts, early or delayed puberty, mental and emotional health problems, and overall developmental arrest. 


Additionally, even a somewhat regular sleep imbalance can result in great enough cognitive impairment during daytime hours to have a serious negative impact on academic performance. 


The Connection Between Sleep and School


You have probably told your child to rest up before a big test or an eventful day at school in Dubai to ensure that they were physically and mentally prepared. But do you know just how closely linked proper sleep and academic performance can be? Just a few of the impacts that a poor sleep schedule can have on a child’s performance in school include:


  • Inability to focus or lack of attention in class. 

  • Impaired memory recall and memorization abilities.

  • Poor processing of information. 

  • Reductions in critical and sequential thinking. 

  • Dwindled creativity and imaginative thought. 


A lack of sleep can also cause emotional issues for your student. Given the public and social nature of the school – whether your child is attending a private IB school or a public instruction – these issues can have a terrible domino effect on their overall school experience and performance. 


Some of the mental and emotional health concerns that a lack of sleep can cause include: 


  • Excessive sleepiness during daylight hours. 

  • Irritability and increased aggression or sadness. 

  • Difficulty with decision-making.

  • Increased hyperactivity, especially in children and teenagers dealing with ADHD or ASD disorders. 

  • Depression or anxiety, especially in children or teenagers who are already struggling with these or other mental health issues. 


As you can see, it is vitally important for children to get adequate sleep. Not only does it impact their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, but it also has a serious and potentially lasting impact on their academic success. Make this a great school year – start every day well-rested and ready to learn!


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