Sleep experts say that getting a good sleep every night is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise in ensuring children get the best out of their schooling. Lack of sleep can lead to an inability to concentrate in lessons and irritability that causes behavioural problems.
Good sleep is an essential human requirement that is vital for good physical, emotional and mental health. Sleeping well and for long enough is also crucial for learning, because lack of sleep hinders memory.
According to the Sleep Council, taking the subject of sleep seriously and encouraging healthy sleeping habits in children could help a school to improve its exam and test score results. "The lack of education about sleep and the factors critical to achieving the necessary quantity and quality must be addressed in schools as well as home,” says a spokesperson.
What you can do at home
- Encourage exercise. Running and playing during the day and after school help the body to get ready for sleep.
- Avoid big meals before bed. Digesting a big dinner while in bed interferes with sleep, so have dinner earlier then offer your child a warm glass of milk or a sleep-inducing snack, such as a banana, which contains the soporific chemical tryptophan.
- Set a time for bed – and stick to it every night.
- Have a bedtime routine. Do the same relaxing things, in the same order every night before bed, such as having a warm bath, getting into bed, then reading a story, so that your child knows when it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
- Make sure your child’s bedroom is cool, dark and quiet.