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20 More Minutes of Sleep Could Mean Higher Grades for Your Kids

posted: 04/21/16
by: Mara Betsch
Cute little girl sleeping in bed cuddling teddy bear at home in bedroom
iStock

Any mom will tell you that getting your child (or children) to bed on time is a nightly struggle. From busy work schedules, to after-school activities, homework, and someone always getting out of bed for water, there are no shortage of excuses for letting kids stay up late. But a new study suggests that getting your kids to bed earlier every night can actually lead to higher grades. And what proud parents wouldn't want that?

A new study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that children who added 20 minutes of sleep each night had higher grades in both math and English. So while the early bird catches the worm, it looks like the ones early to bed get straight A's.

For this six week study, two groups of elementary school students in Montreal weren't just expected to snooze more, they were also taught about the importance of healthy sleep habits. During six, two-hour classes, the kids learned how to set a bedtime routine, proper sleep hygiene (the habits that help you sleep well), what happens when you don't get enough sleep, and the factors that prevent sleep. The study got parents involved, too, sending letters asking them to encourage new sleep routines.

According to one of the authors of the article, psychologist Reut Gruber, a consistent bedtime for children needs to be a priority for parents. "Make sure kids go to bed at a time that allows them sufficient sleep duration, even in the presence of competing activities and priorities," he told Today.com. The report also said that the researchers focused on young children because sleep deprivation in prepubescent children is likely caused by a variety of external factors (like blue light emitted from their cell phones!).

At the end of the study, participants were sleeping longer, falling asleep more quickly, and were asleep more of the time they were in bed. Seriously, sign me up for this study! I'd love for all three of these things to happen to my kids and me.

When it came to report card grades, the reports showed these students saw a two percent increase in their math and English grades. So the next time your kids complain about going to bed early, at least you know you have science on your side.