The connections between sleep quality and proper amounts of sleep have been known for years.
In recent years, though, science surrounding sleep patterns and sleep needs of adolescents has been coming into its own in terms of being a useful tool in understanding the rest that adolescents need in order to perform well in school.
In the journal, Child Development, a new longitudinal study led by senior author, and UCLA professor, Andrew Fuligni, highlights the importance of both amounts and quality to the academically successful adolescent.
As, Drs. Kittu Jindal Garg and Tiffany Chao write in the lede of their ABC News story, “Cramming May Be Damning for Your Grades,” the study’s conclusion is quite blunt:
“High school students who choose to sacrifice their sleep to get extra studying time in may fare worse academically the next day compared with their well-rested peers…”(ABC News)
Study author Fuligni tells NPR:
“What we learned is that when kids cram, particularly at the expense of sleep, the next day they’re more likely to have academic problems even though they spent more time studying that night.”(NPR)
As parents, and anyone who works with adolescents in residential setting knows, the affects of reduced sleep accumulate within students. It catches up with each individual at some point- often manifesting themselves in a reduced achievement or some sort of a behavior situation.
But, it’s not just the negative effects of missed sleep that make good sleep- and enough of it- necessary.
What our brains do during sleep helps us build a foundation for learning. Everyone needs good sleep and proper amounts.
“Lots of things happen during sleep..We don’t just physically restore ourselves…We take the information and organize it and make all the connections,” Helene Emsellem, director of The Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Md. explained to NPR.
For our own children and our student charges in boarding schools, it’s all about setting regular schedules and establishing regular pattern behaviors.
Additional reading: Teenage Sleep Studies Back in the News