Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weak in maths? Blame your sleep pattern

Parents whose children are weak at mathematics, reading and writing better watch out for symptoms of sleep disorders in their kids. Research suggests that such symptoms may cause students to have more trouble academically than their peers.

Authored by Alyssa Bachmann of Chappaqua Public Schools in New York, USA, the study was focused on the parents of 218 second and third graders, who completed Sleep Disorders Inventory for Students -- Child Form, a brief screening tool validated for use in schools.

The results showed that students with reported symptoms of sleep disorders received significantly worse grades, specifically in maths, reading and writing, than students without symptoms of sleep disorders.

"This study, which identified the relationship between the prevalence of symptoms of sleep disorders and academic performance in second and third graders, found that screening students at school with a validated school-based instrument may identify students to be referred for appropriate medical and/ or behavioural treatment," said Bachmann.

Experts recommend that children in pre-school sleep between 11-13 hours a night, and school-aged children between 10-11 hours a night.

They suggest that parents who suspect their child might be suffering from a sleep disorder must consult with their child's paediatrician, who will then refer them to a sleep specialist.

The study was presented at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

According to experts, children should follow following steps to get a good night's sleep:

1. Follow a consistent bedtime routine.

2. Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.

3. Get a full night's sleep every night.

4. Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.

5. Do not go to bed hungry, but don't eat a big meal before bedtime either.

6. The bedroom should be quiet, dark and cool.

7. Get up at the same time every morning.

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