Researchers at McGill University announced that they have found the secret to better behaved children and it definitely has nothing to do with promises of video games and and theme-parks.
The Douglas Mental Health University Institute, a world-class institute affiliated with McGill University, draws the public attention to a new research that has discovered that 27 minutes more sleep each night among children ages 7 to 11 helps them deal with their emotions and limits their impulsive behavior in school. The research has also revealed that a 54 minutes less sleep could result in a decline in control over emotions and an increase in impulsive behavior.
The researchers selected 34 children, aged 7 to 11 and divided them into two groups. One of the groups had their sleep restricted, with bedtimes moved back, so they lost an hour of sleep for five nights straight. The other group had their bedtimes moved up, so they gained an hour of sleep time for five consecutive nights.
The group which was having more sleep, slept on average just 27 additional minutes a night, while other group slept, on average, 54 minutes less a night.
At the end of the study, teachers rated the children on standard measures of behavior, such as impulsivity, restlessness and emotional ability, along with daytime sleepiness. Children in the extra sleep group performed better, showing improvement in alertness, behavior and emotions.
According to the researchers, these new findings support the importance of sleep among school-age children. The significance of sleep patterns should be stressed to parents, educators, and students featuring information on the critical influence of sleep on daytime function. In other words, sleep must become a priority.
According to researchers, studies and guidelines for dealing with the impact of the amount of sleep on a child’s behavior in school are few,. They say that approximately 64 percent of school-age children go to sleep after 9:00 p.m. and 43 percent of boys ages 10 to 11 are unable to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
The research team also found that more sleep in healthy school-age children resulted in a better performance on IQ tests. Sleeping an average of 10 hours every night was the reason for the good performance. The primary aim of McGill University’s researchers is to inform school boards about the effect of insufficient sleep on a child’s behavior in school.
You can read Ms. Gruber’s study, called “Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Liability and Impulsivity” in the journal Pediatrics.