Douglas Teti, lead author of the study, said: “The more children slept more than 10 hours a night, the greater their relationships with their peers, their relationships with teachers, their overall academic performance and their understanding of vocabulary And the visual recognition of the letters, the better.” , Distinguished Professor and Chair of Penn State’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, via email.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine already recommends that kindergarteners get 10 to 13 hours of sleep, but that’s during the day, including naps.
But the study’s findings challenge the recommendations, as they show that the biggest predictor of successful school adjustment is having at least 10 hours of regular sleep at night, Teti said.
“This suggests that ‘compensating’ for sleep deprivation at night by having children nap during the day does not help children transition to kindergarten. It is best to get 10+ hours of concentrated sleep during nighttime sleep and try to keep this from night to night. Probably consistent,” Teti said.
Ariel A. Williamson, a psychologist and pediatric sleep specialist in the Department of Child and Mental Health Psychiatry, said the research methods are sound and support results that can be seen in clinical settings and in broader pediatric research. Philadelphia. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Williamson was not involved in the study.
If you have a child who is going to kindergarten in the fall, now may be the time to start some good sleep habits. The study found that pre-kindergarten sleep patterns made the biggest changes during the year.
“The intervention should start before kindergarten starts in September,” Tetti said. “Parents should do everything in their power to help their children get the most, if not all, of sleep on a regular basis during their child’s nighttime sleep.”
Develop good sleep habits
Teti said the findings don’t mean that preschoolers or younger should start to stop napping, which is important in childhood.
“Naps are a typical developmental process for many young children; however, as the transition to kindergarten approaches, families may want to reduce daytime naps to consolidate nighttime sleep,” Williamson said.
If your child is transitioning to kindergarten, Teti recommends setting a bedtime of 9pm or earlier and working to ensure that most of your child’s sleep happens at night.
He conceded that for some families, this can be difficult to stick to, especially when adults have non-standard working hours. In these cases, Teti recommends seeking support from other caregivers or family members.
In addition to sticking to an early bedtime, it can also help avoid — rather than eliminate — screen use, Teti says. However, he added that screens such as TVs, video games and tablets should be completely turned off at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
It’s also important to get involved in bedtime, establish a consistent routine, and get kids ready for bed, Teti said. That could mean taking a shower, reading a book, having a quiet conversation and creating a calming environment, he suggests.
This regular schedule has been shown to increase the amount of time kids sleep at night, Williamson said.
“Establishing a consistent bedtime…helps encourage a regular sleep schedule and promote optimal nighttime sleep, especially in infancy,” she said.