The study involved 39 healthy children. They were between 7 and 11 years old. Their sleep was measured at home by actigraphy for four nights. This identified their habitual sleep duration on weeknights.
Intelligence was measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children — Fourth Edition. The WISC-IV provides four index scores and a full-scale IQ score.
Results show that children who slept longer performed better on the WISC-IV. Longer habitual sleep duration was associated with higher overall IQ scores.
Getting more sleep also was related to better perceptual reasoning. This involves solving problems using visual, non-verbal information. And reported competence and academic performance were higher in children who slept longer.
Last year the Sleep Education Blog reported on how you can help your child sleep better. The AASM recommends that children between the ages of 7 and 11 get about 10 hours of nightly sleep.
Basic tips that parents should put into practice include:
- Letting children fall asleep independently
- Putting children to bed before 9 p.m.
- Establishing a bedtime routine that includes reading
- Helping children avoid caffeine
- Keeping a TV out of the bedroom
Research also has shown that long-lasting sleep problems in children can affect their cognitive development. Get help for your child’s ongoing sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.
Read more about sleep and children.