We all know that sometimes it's hard to get the
little ones off to bed. A new study by Douglas Mental Health
University Institute in Montreal, has found that children who had a
better quality sleep performed better at maths and

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The research discovered a link
between academic performance and sleep efficiency. "Sleep
efficiency is the proportion of the amount of time you slept to the
amount of time you were in bed," says clinical psychologist, Reut
Gruber, lead author of the study. "For maths and languages, we need
to use the skills that are called 'executive functions'-things like
working memory and planning. The hardware that supports those
skills is in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is very
sensitive to the effects of poor or insufficient sleep."


The study was carried out on 75
healthy children between the ages of 7 and 11, who were each given
a wristwatch-like device called an "actigraph" to wear. This was
used to evaluate sleep by monitoring their night time activity,
averaged the data over five nights and correlated the data with the
children's grade results in school. 


The results found there was a
significant performance variable in maths and languages that was
related to a good night's sleep. Especially with maths. "We found
that 14% of the variability we found in math …was explained by
sleep deficiency," said Gruber. "It was 7% and 8% for English and


The National Sleep Foundation
recommends that children ages five to 12 get 10-11 hours of sleep a
night. (Teenagers need about 9 hours, but studies suggest only 15%
of them get it.) To develop healthy sleep habits, the National
Sleep Foundation suggest parents establish a consistent bedtime
routine, reinforce the need for a regular sleep schedule, and keep
television and computers out of bedrooms. 


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