It’s no secret a good night’s sleep is incredibly important, and a study recently published in the medical journal "Pediatrics" looked into how it impacts children making the big transition to kindergarten.
Researchers tracked more than 200 kids over the course of a kindergarten year and found it’s not just the amount of sleep that matters, but when it takes place.
What You Need To Know
A study published in the medical journal "Pediatrics" finds kindergarten children who got at least 10 hours of sleep adjusted better socially and academically
Current recommendations from The American Academy of Sleep Medicine call for 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day for children 3 to 5 years old, but the study suggests when that sleep occurs matters
The lead author believes the results can be applied to other grade levels as well
“We found when children get 10-plus hours of sleep regularly during the nighttime sleep period, that is what predicted adjustment,” said Doug Teti, the department head of human development and family studies at Penn State. “The better they were in terms of getting along with peers, getting along with their teacher, academic performance and learning engagement.”
The kids wore movement tracking watches to monitor their sleep, and teachers evaluated the kindergarteners’ performance without knowing how much sleep each one got.
“All the effects were statistically significant,” Teti said.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine currently recommends children 3 to 5 years of age get 10 to 13 hours of sleep across 24 hours, including naps. Teti says his study suggests at least 10 of those hours should be concentrated during the night.
“If your child is sleeping less than that amount of time, making up for that with daytime naps isn’t going to make much of a difference,” Teti said.
An ideal sleep schedule will vary from family to family, but Teti does have a soft recommendation. If your child’s kindergarten class begins around 8 or 9 a.m., he suggests getting them in bed by 9 p.m. This allows them to get at least 10 hours and leaves ample time to wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed and have a morning that’s not rushed.
Teti believes his team would’ve seen similar impacts had the study looked into other grade levels, and while 10 hours of sleep overnight won’t determine everything, the data suggests that early transition is an important one to pay attention to.
“When that early adjustment is good, that tends to be a stage-setter for how kids do later,” Teti said.