Effects of Sleep on Learning

by | Health

Is your child getting enough sleep every night? How much is enough and how does lack of sleep affect their performance at school and their ability to learn? Sleep deprivation is statistically shown to directly affect learning ability. Sleep deprivation has a reverse affect on the brain and makes cognitive functions much more difficult.

Sleep deprivation impairs:

1. Cognitive function
2. Attention span
3. Reaction time
4. General health
5. Immune system

Sleep is meant to rejuvenate the brain as sleep puts the brain in the optimal position for learning and memory. Believe it or not, the more you sleep, the more cognitively awake you are and the more effectively you will preform. A 2002 study performed by the Harvard Medical School concluded that sleep helps keep new brain cells alive. Brain cell deficiency from lack of sleep ultimately affects the overall ability to learn and retain information.

Children and toddlers seem to have a schedule of their own when it comes to bedtimes. Preschoolers always need attention, especially when it comes to going to bed. It’s important to come up with a routine that works for your family. There are many resources and techniques available to make bedtime an “easy” routine.

Occasionally, a sleep-deprived child can look full of energy, hyperactive almost. This unexpected behaviour caused by sleep deprivation happens because the child is unable to focus on tasks or learning activities. This causes frustration and emotional outbursts. Sleep-deprived children may bother other children or talk excessively because they are trying to stimulate their brain to regain their focus.

A child’s sleep needs will vary, but a guideline can be used. Typically, a toddler between the ages of 1 and 3 will need between 10 and 14 hours of sleep (including naps) over a 24-hour period. Preschoolers need between 11 and 13 hours of sleep and school-aged children between 5 and 12 require 10 to 11 hours of sleep per day.

What do you think about the effect of sleep on learning? According to these guidelines, is your child getting enough sleep?