A Significant Relationship Found Between Sleep and Standardized Test Scores

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New research finds an optimal number of hours of sleep by student age in relation to test scores. Sleep Training Solutions, a leading infant and child sleep consulting company, educates parents about the importance of sleep and helps families across the country solve challenging child sleep problems.

Credit: koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New research suggests optimal number of hours sleep for maximum student achievement on standardized tests

The number of optimal hours of sleep for test score performance decreased by age—9-9.5 hours for 10 year olds, 8.34-8.43 hours for 12 year olds and 7.02-7.35 hours for 16 year olds.

A recent study conducted by Brigham Young University reveals that there is a statistically significant relationship between sleep and test scores in children ages 10-19. More specifically, the study quantified optimal hours of sleep and how student performance is affected by age, with optimal hours of sleep decreasing with age. Sleep Training Solutions' experts agree that sleep plays an important role in test taking success and provide their own their consulting and advice on how to deal with children's sleep issues.

As students in Illinois are taking the ISAT tests this week and students across the country prepare for their standardized tests later this Spring, parents and teachers emphasize the importance of a good night’s sleep and a well-balanced breakfast for students. This study is particularly timely and reiterates the importance of sleep.

According to the 2012 article, the number of optimal hours of sleep for test score performance decreased by age—9-9.5 hours for 10 year olds, 8.34-8.43 hours for 12 year olds and 7.02-7.35 hours for 16 year olds. Researchers note that these amounts are lower than current medical research recommendations (The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8.5-9.25 hours for 10-17 year olds), and it was acknowledged that not taking into account overall health and well-being was a limitation in this study.

Several studies have examined student achievement and sleep, with mixed results. According to a 2011 article published in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, delaying school start time by 50 minutes significantly increased the effect on academic achievement in teenagers. But another study from the same year published in Education Finance Policy declared that there was no significant change in student achievement with a later school start time.

In a Sleep Medicine Reviews article which reviewed studies on sleep and academic performance, researchers found that sleep quantity, erratic sleep schedules, having different wake times for weekdays and weekends, and sleepiness during the day contributed to academic performance.

According to a study in Teachers College Record, sleeplessness and sleep habits come from behavioral and physiological sources. Parents are often able to set bedtimes and wake times for young children, but older children and teenagers have after-school activities and sports, early morning practices and part-time jobs, in addition to increased amounts of homework, which often lead to late bedtime and early rising.

Chicago-based certified infant and child sleep consultant, Kim Schaf, agrees that older children are often over-scheduled and sleep is not always a priority. In a recent article, Schaf gives parents tips on preventing overtiredness and creating a good routine at bedtime, including refraining from technology an hour before bed and monitoring what children are eating in the afternoon and evening hours.

During these standardized testing periods, according to Schaf, it is especially important that children have an appropriate bedtime. “When children have a late bedtime, they become overtired and wired, making it very difficult for the body to settle down for sleep. For optimal performance on the standardized tests, children should have a relaxing evening with quiet time before bed, and, of course, a healthy breakfast.”

About Sleep Training Solutions
Sleep Training Solutions, a leading infant and child sleep consulting company based in the Chicago area, provides education and training to parents and caregivers in the Chicago area and across the country to resolve sleep problems in infants and children. For more information, please visit http://www.SleepTrainingSolutions.com.

About Kim Schaf
Kim has a Master of Arts in Teaching and was hand-selected and personally trained in Vancouver, B.C. by Dana Obleman, world-renowned sleep expert and creator of The Sleep Sense™ Program. She offers one-on-one sessions and group seminars for parents, and is available to lead workshops and classes at drop-in groups, pediatrician and OB/GYN offices or hospitals at a reduced or pro-bono rate. Kim lives in a northern suburb of Chicago with her husband and two small children, both of whom are excellent sleepers.

For more information
Contact: Kim Schaf, M.A.T.
(847) 386-6285

Photo: koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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