Sleep for Learning

Wednesday 14 Mar

Children need more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. Further, a good night’s sleep is essential for children to maintain focus in the classroom and experience academic improvement.

Multiple studies show that small sleep deficiencies can have significant academic consequences. By way of example, following his research into the effect of children’s sleep on their classroom engagement and performance, Professor of Psychology and former Director of the Children’s Sleep Laboratory at Tel Aviv University, Dr Avi Sadeh, reported that, ‘A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.’ This is a very concerning discovery.

It can be problematic to gauge whether or not our children are getting sufficient sleep based on their daily function because, unlike adults who typically slow down when they’re tired, sleepy children can tend to wind up and resist bedtime. For this reason, we rely on sleep guidelines provided by the Sleep Health Foundation:

Infants (0-3 months)

14-17 hours

Infants (4-11 months)

12-15 hours

Toddlers (1-2 years)

11-14 hours

Pre-Schoolers (3-5 years)

10-13 hours

School-Aged Children (6-13 years)

9-11 hours

Teenagers (14-17 years)

8-10 hours

Young Adults, Adults (18-65 years)

7-9 hours

Older Adults (65+ years)

7-8 hours


I recommend adhering to the sleep guidelines above. If you are unsure whether or not your child is receiving their full quota of sleep, one Living Faith family recommends a fitness tracker as a helpful way to monitor sleep efficiency for their children.

Of course, there will be times when a child’s quality or quantity of sleep is affected. On these occasions, I encourage you to write a short note to the class teacher, so this can be taken into account throughout the school day.

Read more about sleep here:

- Jane Mueller