The noticeable difference in behavior after a half-hour of extra sleep confirms that kids need more sleep, shows a new study.
A little bit of sleep goes a long way.
That’s the message from a new study published this week in the journal “Pediatrics,” in which researchers found that even a small increase or decrease in shut-eye can have a major impact on the behavior of otherwise healthy children in elementary school.
In this study, 34 children ages 7 to 11 were divided into two groups: one whose parents put them to bed an hour later than normal, the other whose parents turned off the lights an hour earlier. The researchers monitored the children’s sleep, to make sure they were actually snoozing because of the early bedtimes. Then, the students’ teachers – who did not know whether their pupils were getting more or less sleep – evaluated the children’s behavior over the course of a week.
The results were clear: A cumulative extension of sleep duration of about 27 minutes meant detectable improvement in behavior, while a cumulative restriction of sleep of about 54 minutes led to a deterioration in children’s restless-impulsive behavior and general emotional wellbeing, as determined by their teachers.