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Southern View Elementary School

3338 South Fifth Street
Springfield, IL 62703

Sleep Affects Children’s Brains and Learning

March 8, 2012

Did you know that lack of sleep affects brain development? New Research has shown that lack of sleep can have drastic effects on student achievement and brain development. Researchers have found that performance gaps caused by a one hour loss of sleep were bigger than the normal gap between a fourth-grader and a sixth-grader. Another way to put this is, a slightly sleepy sixth-grader will perform in class like a typical fourth-grader. In other words, “a loss of one hour of sleep is the same as the loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development” according to research findings.

Research also points to the large academic consequences of small sleep differences. Most young children are allowed to stay up late on Fridays and Saturdays. Research shows that this shift in sleep costs students up to seven points when they are assessed on standardized tests. Another researcher studied the impact of sleep problems on vocabulary-test scores of elementary-school students. Students scored seven points lower on assessments in this study also. Sleep researcher Avi Sadeh concluded, “Sleep disorders can impair children’s I.Q.’s as much as lead exposure.”

The recommended amount of sleep for a 5-12 year old is 10 hours a night. Read the March Star for more on this.