Let Sleeping Kids Lie

Years ago, I was teaching a preschool class where the topic was the letter g and, wearily holding up the alphabet card, I asked the group of 20 if they remembered the letter, not really expecting an answer. “G,” came a little voice, and when I turned to see who it belonged to, I almost tipped over from shock. It was Josh, a special education student who had been a crack baby and on whom – I hate to admit – I had just about given up.

From that point, I stopped seeing myself as a glorified babysitter and by the end of the year, Josh was reading and more advanced than the rest of his peers, including the two-thirds of the class that made up the general ed population.

Josh had been a champion napper and in the following years I noticed that those kids who were the best sleepers were also the best learners. I chalked this up to coincidence until recently. Research now shows that during sleep, especially the REM variety, short-term memories are transferred into long-term. This also makes way for new memories, which means catching a snooze is important not only after learning but before-hand as well. Studies show sleep helps in learning whether you’re a college student, a senior citizen or a fruit fly.

The right amount of sleep offers a suite of other benefits, including wound healing, decreased risk of obesity and increased immunity and longevity. Lack of sleep can result in “behavioral problems, permanent sleep disruption and decreased brain mass,” and an abnormal amount of neuronal (brain) cell death. The benefits of slumber makes evolutionary sense. Otherwise, why else would we spend about 1/3 of our day on it? See WebMD.com for sleep recommendations by age group.

If your child is initially resistant, you just need to turn napping into a habit. Have a set time each day, after lunch and perhaps a story, in a darkened room and power up a classical CD. I have yet to meet a child who will not eventually sleep in this type of setting.

So dream on!




Naps wipe the brain’s memory slate clean, a new sleep study says



Tossing, turning, forgetting



How Much Sleep Do Children Need?






November 20, 2011. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. JERRY PALMER replied:

    no wonder sleeping in class is so productive…

    heh heh



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