Researchers studied the 75 healthy children aged between 7 to 11 years. In the study they found that good night’s sleep is linked to better performance in math and languages – subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success, reported in the study.
With greater “sleep efficiency”, the children did better in maths and languages, but grades in science and art were not affected, the findings showed.
Sleep efficiency is a gauge of sleep quality that compares the amount of actual sleep time with the total time spent in bed. Sleep efficiency can be improved with pleasant environment and sufficient diet.
“We believe that executive functions underlie the impact of sleep on academic performance, and these skills are more critical in math and languages than in other subjects,” said Reut Gruber from Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal.
Executive functions refer to the mental skills involved in planning, paying attention and multitasking, among others. Sleep efficiency improves the logical ability to grasp anything soon and quick response.
“Short or poor sleep is a significant risk factor for poor academic performance that is frequently ignored,” Gruber said.
The children’s night time sleep was monitored by actigraphy. Sleep actigraphs are generally watch-shaped and worn on the wrist of the non-dominant arm. They are useful for determining sleep patterns and circadian rhythms and may be worn for several weeks at a time and the records can be monitored on computer later.
The article appeared in the journal Sleep Medicine.