How Can Parents Help Their Children Get Better Sleep and Improve School Performance? Update 07/2024

We all know how much pressure there is on pupils to perform well in school. If you want to go into a good college, you need high marks, and if you want to get a decent job, you need good grades, too!

There are many variables that can affect your performance, but is the amount of sleep you get matter? We’ll see if pupils who sleep better are more likely to succeed in school in this article.

To that end, we’ll examine the kids’ current sleeping habits and discuss strategies for enhancing them in the future.

Are Children and Teens Getting the Sleep They Need?

The amount of sleep a person needs depends on their age. The National Sleep Foundation advises a total of 9-11 hours of sleep per day for children ages 6-12. Teens should get 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

Many youngsters in the United States aren’t getting the amount of sleep they need, according to a new study. Poor sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness may affect as many as 25% of young children.

Adolescents are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders than their elders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 57% of middle school students and 72% of high school students slept less than the recommended amount of time. As many as 23.8 percent of adolescents suffer from insomnia, a serious sleep issue that has a significant impact on their daily lives.

What Causes Teens and Young Adults to Lose Rest?

Why do so many young people have trouble sleeping? This is happening for a multitude of reasons.

Late-Night Homework

Studying for a test or doing assignments often necessitates staying up late for many students. Due to extracurricular activities or a part-time job, some students may have to do their assignments later than usual.


People in their teens and early twenties are surrounded by modern distractions such as video games and cell phones. Unfortunately, screen usage might have an adverse effect on your sleep quality. For a variety of reasons, people of all ages can be affected by screen use before bedtime.

To begin, blue light from the screen lowers the production of the melatonin hormone, which is crucial for keeping your sleep-wake cycle on track. There is a second explanation for this: the devices excite your brain, making it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Thirdly, notifications that interrupt your REM – or deep sleep – cycle may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.

Also keep in mind that even if you don’t use them right before bed, digital distractions may still induce you to put off doing homework and other responsibilities, which could still disrupt your sleep schedule.

Emotional Stress

Depression and anxiety contribute to more than half of all sleep disorders, according to Dartmouth College. They go on to say that sleeplessness can also be caused by a high amount of stress.

There are many responsibilities for teenagers and young adults, including academics, extracurricular activities, and internships, as well as social, family, and romantic interactions. They may not be able to get a good night’s sleep due to the mixture of these pressures.

Inconsistent Sleep Schedules

When your bedtime and wake-up time are not constant, you may not feel rested. On the weekdays, some students may stick to a regular sleeping routine, but on the weekends, that can easily fall apart.

University students in Taiwan were studied in 2009 for their sleep habits, and researchers found a correlation between erratic sleeping patterns and inadequate rest.

Living Environment

In addition, it isn’t simply about your habits. When you sleep, your surroundings have an impact on your quality of rest.

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, college and graduate students may struggle. Distractions ranging from noisy neighbors to roommates can keep you awake at night.

Sleep Disorders

It’s not uncommon for young individuals to suffer from sleep issues that make it difficult to recharge their batteries. Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome are all examples of sleep disorders. For sleep disorders, however, you should see a doctor who can thoroughly diagnose your sleep condition.

Diet and Exercise

The foods and beverages you consume can also affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Caffeine and alcohol consumption can keep you awake while eating or drinking right before bed can make it difficult to go off to sleep.

Working out late at night might give you an energy boost that makes it difficult to fall asleep at night, even though it is vital for a healthy lifestyle to get regular exercise.


While we may be quick to chastise teenagers for their lack of sleep, this isn’t entirely their responsibility. As youth mature, they are biologically programmed to go to bed later, according to studies conducted since the early 1990s. People with a Sleep Phase Delay are unable to go to sleep before 11:00 p.m. because their circadian rhythm (or internal clock) makes it difficult.

This, however, does not coincide with the timetables of schools and universities around the world. As early as 8:00 am, the majority of schools have classes, with some high schools starting even earlier.

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

You’ll experience at least one of these signs if you’re sleep-deprived.

Mood Changes

Even a shortage of sleep can exacerbate or increase the risk of developing mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Students who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be irritable, frustrated, unhappy, and angry. Their interactions with instructors, friends, and family could be impacted by mood problems and changes.

Get Sick More Often

If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get sick and your recovery time may be affected. Cytokines, a class of protective proteins, are secreted by your body when you sleep. However, if you don’t get enough sleep, the production of this protein drops, making you more susceptible to infections and sickness.

Daytime Drowsiness

We all know students who fall asleep in class, and at one point or another, we may have been one of those students ourselves. Instead of blaming yourself or your conduct on sloth, examine the possibility that sleep deprivation may be to blame.

A lack of sleep the night before can explain a lot of your daytime drowsiness, so make sure you get some rest.

One of the most prevalent symptoms of sleep deprivation is daytime tiredness. Drooling in class is a problem, but kids who drive are especially vulnerable because drowsiness increases their chance of an accident.

Inability to Concentrate

Sleep deprivation can also impair your capacity to focus, which can have a negative impact on your academic performance. As a result of an inability to focus, you will have a difficult time paying attention in class and completing homework and other assignments on time.

Memory Problems

Students who must memorize large amounts of information for exams or presentations may find that getting too little sleep impairs their memory. It’s a good idea to take a look at your sleeping patterns if you’ve noticed you’re more forgetful than normal lately.

Less Physical Strength

While some students participate in sports for recreational reasons, others may rely on athletics to secure vital college scholarships and funding.

Sleep is as essential to your health as eating is. Physical strength and vitality are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you won’t be able to perform at your peak.

This is supported by the facts. In 2011, a study examined the impact of sleep on collegiate basketball players’ performance. They found that the best athletic performance was achieved by basketball players who got enough sleep.

Even if they don’t participate in school athletics, even non-participating students may be discouraged from working out entirely.

Do Successful Students Sleep More?

Despite the fact that this information suggests that better sleep leads to greater academic success, is there any evidence to back this up? Yes. For example, a 2015 study sought to see if there was a link between the amount of sleep pharmaceutical students got and their academic performance. Students who slept more soundly scored higher on exams and earned higher semester GPAs as a result of the study’s findings.

What Is the Effect of Poor Sleep on School Performance?

Experts in the field of sleep agree that children and teens and young adults’ cognitive capacities are harmed by sleep deprivation.

Research on sleep deprivation has focused primarily on adults, although it is widely thought that many of the same consequences are also present in children. Children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have poor academic performance, despite the fact that little research has been done on the subject.

There is a direct link between sleep and school success in terms of the impact on mental function. Lack of sleep has been linked to a number of health issues, some of which are as follows:

  • Attention has waned. In order to study and succeed in school, students need to be able to focus and pay attention.
  • Memory loss. Memory encoding occurs during sleep when the brain stores and enhances a visual or mental image. If you don’t get enough sleep, your memories may not form properly, and you may have difficulty recalling stored knowledge appropriately.
  • Processing time was prolonged. Lack of sleep can impair mental acuity, cause sluggishness and impair one’s capacity to process information fast.
  • Reduced ability to think logically. Step-by-step instructions like those in a science experiment or a musical instrument might be difficult to remember when sleep is disrupted.
  • Reduced ability to think beyond the box. If you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to think creatively is impaired, according to several studies.

In addition to affecting one’s emotions and behavior, sleep deprivation can harm one’s academic performance.

  • Drowsiness during the day, especially at school, can have a significant impact on academic performance. Students can nod off at their desks for a few seconds at a time, a phenomenon known as “microsleeps.” Teachers may consider this a behavioral issue in addition to disrupting the classroom.
  • Poor decision-making: Lack of sleep can impair the development of brain regions involved in making sound judgments, increasing the possibility of students making unsafe or imprudent choices that could lead to school expulsions or other forms of exclusion.
  • Sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased likelihood of aggressive behavior in youngsters, which may be especially alarming when combined with sleep deficiency’s negative effects on mood..”
  • Children and teens who don’t receive enough sleep may be more prone to becoming irritated or disturbed, as quality sleep is linked to healthy emotional regulation.
  • Teachers’ reports of hyperactive conduct were linked to sleep deprivation, which has been linked to problems with attention and hyperactivity. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be exacerbated by sleep issues (ADHD).
  • Depression and anxiety are common side effects of sleep deprivation in children and adults alike, and they can have a negative impact on a child’s general health and academic performance.

Missing school can also have a negative impact on a student’s academic performance. School absences and tardiness have been linked to poor sleep habits among students. As a result of a lack of sleep, students are more likely to miss school owing to physical ailments such as lethargy, headaches, and soreness.

How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect School Performance for Children of Different Ages?

Adolescents are more susceptible to sleep disorders, which can have a negative impact on their grades, compared to younger children. Teenagers, in particular, suffer distinct sleep troubles that can lead to issues in the classroom.

At the beginning of puberty, adolescents face a big challenge due to a shift in their biological sleep schedule. Teenagers are more likely to be “night owls” as a result of this two-hour time shift.

Teenagers who have to get up early for school or other activities find it difficult to get adequate sleep because they tend to go to bed later. Because of this, between ages 13 and 19, the average amount of time spent sleeping each night reduces by 40 to 50 minutes.

Teens are especially susceptible to the negative consequences of sleep deprivation on their cognitive, behavioral, and physical health, all of which can have an impact on their academic performance. In addition, many teenagers find it difficult to concentrate in class and on exams in the early hours of the school day because they are at their sharpest in the late afternoon or evening.

How Can Students Sleep Better?

In light of this new knowledge, students can take action to enhance their sleeping habits.

No Homework or Technology Right Before Bed

Around an hour before going to bed, students should avoid doing homework, studying, and using the technology of any kind, including social media. It may be tempting to study late into the night, but research shows that you’re more likely to succeed if you get some shut-eye. In the case that you have homework due the next day, it is recommended that you wake up early and complete it.

Giving up Instagram or playing video games can be difficult, but cutting down on screen time before bed can help your mind unwind so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

Create a Better Sleep Environment

Students who have problems sleeping may benefit from making changes to their sleeping environment. The effects of light, temperature and noise on sleep are three of the most common. Sleep masks and earplugs can be helpful for students who have noisy roommates who remain up late. The extra light from the outside can be blocked by blackout curtains. Monitor the temperature in your room to ensure that it is neither too hot nor too chilly, which will allow you to sleep more peacefully.

Stick to a Schedule

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, such as going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, might also be beneficial. Consistent schedules might help maintain your body’s internal clock in sync, even on the weekends.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Cutting off caffeine, especially later in the day and at night, is a no-brainer, but you might be tempted to consume it while you finish up your schoolwork. As an alternative, consume water or a decaffeinated beverage to refuel. Experts recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages in addition to caffeine. If you’re a student of legal drinking age, you might assume a glass of wine will help you relax. Alcohol can put you to sleep, but it can also cause sleep disturbances.

Don’t Eat Right Before Bed

It’s easy to put off dinner when you’re running from class to class and then to evening practice, rehearsal, or study session. To avoid overeating in the middle of the night, go instead for a light snack that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable.

Exercise Regularly

You’ll sleep better if you work out on a regular basis. Students who are in good physical condition are more likely to fall asleep sooner and slumber more soundly, according to the study. Ideally, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week for at least an hour before going to bed, if not more frequently.

Manage Your Concerns

In the middle of the night, I’m plagued by worries, whether they’re about my studies or personal life. Keeping a journal is a fantastic option if you discover that your problems are keeping you up at night. Before you go to sleep, attempt to come up with solutions and organize your day for the next day. When you write them down and devise a strategy, it will be easier for you to put them to rest at night.

How Will Better Sleep Help Students Later in Life?

The good news is that building solid habits as a student will help you succeed in both your academic and professional endeavors. A lack of sleep can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to perform at a high level in a lot of jobs. The importance of the early development of excellent habits cannot be overstated. Even as you become older, it’s important to maintain a good night’s sleep. In addition to preventing weight gain and boosting your immune system, heart health and cognition can all benefit from a good night’s sleep.

How Can Parents Help Their Children Get Better Sleep and Improve School Performance?

To help their children succeed in school, parents naturally want to do whatever they can. In light of the fact that sleep is so crucial for academic success, parents should make encouraging their children to get enough sleep a priority.

Parents who want to improve their children’s sleep habits should start by talking to them about the advantages of getting enough sleep. Taking concrete efforts to improve sleep might be a good starting point for recognizing the importance of quality rest for the entire family. For this reason, parents should strive to set a good example for their children by practicing excellent sleep habits themselves.

Making sleep a priority is an important first step for many families. In order to ensure that their children get the appropriate amount of sleep each night, parents should plan their children’s daily routines so that they take into account the start times of school and other activities. The benefits of a regular sleep schedule include reinforcing the necessity of rest and promoting healthy sleep patterns.

According to research, children who have a nighttime routine sleep better. Not only does having a set bedtime help to simplify daily routines, but it also serves as a safeguard against non-sleep-related activities such as productive ones like studying. Children who have their bedtimes set by their parents have been found to have better moods and less afternoon tiredness.

Creating a pleasant bedtime routine can be an extension of a strict sleep schedule that parents might implement with their children. Young children have been proven to benefit from following the same routine every night as they prepare for sleep, as well as adults of all ages.

Cell phones and other electronic gadgets should be put away as soon as possible before going to sleep. Children and adults should refrain from using electronic devices for at least an hour before going to sleep, and the devices should be kept out of the bedroom if at all possible.

Parents can help their children sleep better by creating a peaceful sleep environment for them. Children, like adults, benefit from a restful night’s sleep when their beds are firm, their sheets are soft, and the room is dark and quiet. Parents and children can work together to ensure that the sleep environment is peaceful and conducive to a good night’s sleep.

In cases where a child’s daytime conduct or thinking is adversely affected by a child’s inability to sleep, parents should consult their child’s pediatrician. If a child has insomnia, which is distinct from occasional sleep issues, a doctor can diagnose it and propose a specific course of action. Children’s sleep problems may be caused by a sleep disorder or some other health issue, which a pediatrician can assess.

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