DARIEN, IL – One of the best ways students can prepare for success this school year is to commit to getting the healthy sleep they need to learn, function and grow. Yet, more than half of parents (57%) with school-age children say that they have a child or teen who does not get enough sleep on school nights, according to a July 2020 survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)*. To highlight the importance of healthy sleep for students, the AASM is holding the first-ever Student Sleep Health Week (SSHW), slated for Sept. 14-20, 2020.
“No matter where classes are held this school year — whether in-person, online or in a hybrid format — it’s important that students maintain a consistent sleep schedule to excel in both their studies and extra-curricular activities,” said AASM President Dr. Kannan Ramar. “As many parents and caregivers try to create a routine for their kids, incorporating the right amount of healthy sleep is an important component. The back-to-school transition is an ideal time for families to get back on track.”
Barriers to Healthy Sleep for Students
According to the AASM survey, 90% of parents cite homework and early school start times as the top barriers to students trying to get the healthy sleep they need each night. Other things keeping students from sleep include spending time with friends (87%), social media/electronics use (86%), hobbies (86%), sports (85%), chores or jobs (83%), and band/music/clubs (78%).
“Healthy sleep gives children and teens the best chance to maximize learning and performance,” said Dr. Ramar. “When students get sufficient sleep, it has a positive impact on grades, athletic performance and other daily activities.”
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted sleep and school schedules for children and teens. As schools across the country turned to remote learning in the spring, many students were able to get more sleep than they normally would on school nights. However, one of the biggest challenges students faced was maintaining a consistent and healthy sleep/wake schedule during the pandemic, according to the AASM. Four out of 10 parents acknowledged that remote learning affected their children’s bedtime and/or waketime consistency.
“Even though students may not need to catch the bus or carpool this school year, they should continue with morning and bedtime rituals, including getting up and going to bed at regular times so they get enough sleep,” added Dr. Ramar.
Benefits of Healthy Sleep for Students
Parents are aware of the importance of sleep on their children’s health and well-being. About 94% of parents acknowledge that sleep impacts their children’s mood, and 93% understand its correlation to performance in school. Impacts on physical health (92%), mental health (90%) and performance in sports or other activities (90%) are also widely reported by parents.
When students get the recommended hours of healthy sleep on a regular basis, it is associated with better outcomes, including improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Sufficient sleep also helps students:
- Excel in the classroom by maximizing attention, memory and learning abilities
- Perform better in sports by being faster, stronger and more accurate
- Feel their best and have a more optimistic attitude toward life
- Look their best and maintain a healthy weight
- Have fun and enjoy life by making better decisions and staying safe
The benefits of healthy sleep require not only adequate sleep duration, but also appropriate timing, daily regularity, good sleep quality, and the absence of sleep disorders. The AASM recommends children 6-12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health, while teenagers 13-18 years of age should obtain eight to 10 hours of sleep per night.
For more info about Student Sleep Health Week, please visit sleepeducation.org/student-sleep-health-week.
*AASM July 2020 Consumer Survey – https://aasm.org/about/newsroom/.
About Student Sleep Health Week
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is organizing the first-ever Student Sleep Health Week, Sept. 14-20, 2020, to encourage students to get the healthy sleep they need to excel this school year. The AASM will be hosting online events throughout the week with the hashtag #StudentSleepWeek. Join the conversation and learn all about the importance of sleep for students, including healthy sleep tips and more. Supporting partners include: American School Counselor Association, American School Health Association, National Association of School Nurses, National PTA, National Safety Council, Project Sleep, Society for Health and Physical Educators, and Sleep Research Society.
About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives. The AASM has a combined membership of 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals.