One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is that my kids get as much sleep as they need every day and so do I. When your kids don’t get enough sleep, they have a harder time learning new things. They may get lower grades in their studies, struggle with harder subjects, show poorer performance during team-based sports, and be generally more anxious and distracted in during lessons.
Sleep is crucial for children of all ages – for their health, development, and not least, for their ability to learn new things.
Learn more about how sleep affects your kids’ learning and why it’s so important to create the right conditions for them to get good sleep.
1. Sleep Makes Acquiring New Information Easier
When the brain fills up with information, it has difficulties committing it to memory. Think of your learning brain as a shopping basket. It can only hold so many items before it spills or becomes difficult to carry.
Sleep shrinks excited brain synapses and consolidates acquired information to free the brain for new learning. It’s because of this that your kids should never stay up late to cram information. They will be better off with a good night’s sleep.
2. Sleep Consolidates Declarative Memories
Declarative memories are fact-based. They include names, definitions, and other theoretical knowledge. During sleep, the brain reviews declarative memories and organizes them for easy recall. Kids who don’t get enough sleep may underperform on subjects as diverse as history, math, or chemistry.
3. Sleep Strengthens Procedural Memories
Another type of memories the brain classifies during sleep is procedural memory. This includes instruction-based memories such as tying shoelaces, riding a bicycle, performing a complex ballet move, or playing a musical instrument.
Much of the new information young kids acquire both during homeschool (or school) time and during other activities comes to them in the form of procedural memories.
4. Sleep Improves Focus and Attention
We’ve already touched on the benefits of sleep on kids’ memory. But sleep also has a strong impact on kids’ ability to focus on a task and influences their overall attention.
Without adequate sleep, kids may find it harder to process what a teacher is saying, solve problems, or follow instructions during a team-based activity. In severe cases, kids with poor sleep patterns may give the impression that they are “slow” when in fact they are simply not well rested.
5. Sleep Boosts Divergent Thinking and Creativity
There’s one particular kind of thinking that poor sleep stifles, and that’s divergent thinking or thinking out of the box. This is closely tied to what is generally called “creativity”.
Divergent thinking enables kids to explore different solutions to a problem. Without proper sleep, their ability to generate creative solutions or link them together may be severely affected. Even one night of sleep loss can diminish kids’ creative ability.
6. Sleep Soothes Stress and Anxiety
Sleep loss has a negative impact on mood. Kids who don’t sleep well have to deal with higher levels of stress and anxiety. They are also more prone to feel anger, irritation, and sadness.
All of these can have a long-lasting effect on your kids’ ability to acquire new information, explore new subjects, and become very good at certain activities.
For example, a child who sleeps late every night may feel too anxious to share his ideas in class or to try a new activity. Their long-term learning performance may suffer as a result.
7. Sleeps Improves Stimulus Response
Many of the things kids learn before they become adults are not factual. For example, to learn to play in a band or perform well in a junior basketball team, kids need to have a good stimulus-response. Sleep loss slows down this response and makes kids underperform in all demanding or competitive activities that require them to cooperate with others.
Sleep Is Crucial for Kids
Kids who get enough sleep can learn things faster. They can tackle new subjects and recall information with greater ease. They can also perform physical tasks and explore new activities with better results.
Now that you know how sleep affects your kids’ learning, make sure you establish a healthy daily routine with enough sleep. This will certainly make a huge difference in your children’s ability to learn.
Know how much sleep kids need and you’ll be able to help your kids avoid sleep loss and maintain healthy sleep patterns throughout their entire life.
Question: Are your kids getting enough sleep? Let us know down in the comments!
Thanks to Natasha for this great guest post! Natasha sleeps about 7–8 hours on average. Maybe a bit more on the weekends. In her free time, she enjoys travel and listening to music. Natasha’s writing has been featured on multiple international publication.