It seems that just half an hour of sleep makes a big difference when it comes to children ages 7 to 11. Researchers in Canada have found that kids who were allowed to sleep just a bit more than usual performed much better at school than kids who were deprived almost one hour of sleep over the week.
The study took a sample of 34 kids with no reported sleep problems, and asked their teachers to measure their behavior according to the Conners’ Global Index Scale. Of course, the teachers weren’t told the sleep status of the participants.
The results, as specified in the paper published in Pediatrics, are the following: “(1) A cumulative extension of sleep duration of 27.36 minutes was associated with detectable improvement in Conners’ Global Index–derived emotional lability and restless-impulsive behavior scores of children in school and a significant reduction in reported daytime sleepiness; and (2) a cumulative restriction of sleep of 54.04 minutes was associated with detectable deterioration on such measures.”
“Nobody became a genius, and nobody became crazy,” said lead author Reut Gruber, of McGill University. “But the findings show that in children small changes can make a big difference, and that is why this is meaningful.”
Photo: Detail of painting by Albert Anker
Gruber, R., Cassoff, J., Frenette, S., Wiebe, S., & Carrier, J. (2012). Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Lability and Impulsivity PEDIATRICS DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-0564