Sleep Your Way Smarter By Bianca Schwimmer

My 10 year old daughter Bianca is presenting this to her language arts class today, as part of their “speech competition”. I hope she wins!

Sleep Your Way Smarter

By Bianca Schwimmer

I can tell you how to improve your grades, without doing any extra work, really! If you simply sleep longer, your grades may get considerably better. Many kids think that the person who stays up the latest is the coolest, but really, the more you sleep, the better your grades, and the happier your parents.

Children from ages five to twelve need ten to twelve hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep can result in mood swings, behavioral problems, and cognitive problems that can impact their ability to learn in school. The quantity and quality of sleep have an impact on learning and memory. A sleep-deprived person cannot focus his/her attention on something for a long period of time, and therefore cannot remember or learn the material as well as they could have if they have had enough sleep. Sleep, memory, and learning are all interrelated. If a person lacks sleep, it causes focus and memory loss, which affects his/her ability to learn, whether it be in school, at work, in a meeting, or just listening to a teacher or a friend.

“What behaviors interfere with a good night’s sleep?”

When children eat or drink caffeine, play video games, watch television, or go on the computer before going to bed, some symptoms are lack of sleep and having nightmares. Watching television before bed has been said to cause bedtime resistance, having trouble falling asleep, anxiety around sleep, nightmares, and fewer overall hours of sleep. Keeping televisions, computers, and video games out of a child’s bedroom can help discourage the temptation to engage in these activities before going to sleep.

School-aged children should be taught to exercise healthy sleeping habits and tips, especially those kids who do multiple extra- curricular activities, such as sports or playing an instrument. Those kids need to rest their bodies for multiple reasons: 1) They also have to have 10-12 hours of sleep 2) They need to be rested at school 3) They have to be energized for their activities and anything else that they have to do the next day. It takes more time management and effort to accomplish this, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

“ What can you do to get a better night’s sleep?”

Keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet increases the quantity and quality of your sleep, so you will be refreshed and ready to learn for the next day’s work. Keeping a constant sleep schedule (for example, going to bed at the same time every day) and a bedtime routine (such as taking a warm shower before going to sleep) also helps to improve your sleep. It gets your body used to going to bed at that time, so you will be able to fall asleep faster and deeper, for increased quality. For increased quality and quantity of your sleep, avoid caffeine and sweets before bed. Some people find that the smell of lavender and listening to music before bed helps you fall asleep faster. Studies show that magnesium rich food, such as green vegetables, helps you fall asleep more easily. A glass of warm milk might help, as well!

After hearing all of this, you are probably thinking that the “cool kid” lack of sleep is over and done with. The next time your parents ask you to go to bed, I wouldn’t think twice about resisting!

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