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An Hour More Sleep May Help Kids Learn

Children Learn Best When Getting Enough Sleep - Structured Bedtimes Help
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He also gave the children a series of tests at both the beginning and end of the study, to see how changes in sleep patterns affected their performance.

Which children functioned best? Those who got an extra hour of sleep did best on the tests -- even though they woke up more during the night, reports Sadeh. For those children whose sleep was decreased by one hour, just the opposite was true -- they did worse on the tests, but woke up less during the night, indicating it's the amount of sleep time that counts.

Much the same is true of adults, says Isaacson. "When you sleep late on the weekends, you find yourself repeatedly waking up a little in the morning -- which I find quite delicious, myself. When I get up, I feel fresher and better able to perform."

Almost all studies have shown that when people are deprived of sleep, their mood and ability to perform tests is a bit worse, Isaacson says.

"Having a ritualistic bedtime pattern, especially for younger kids, will help them slow down, get ready to sleep. Also, avoid caffeine and sugar before bedtime because it gives the body the wrong signals and won't let them feel sleepy," he advises.

With teenage kids, a later bedtime may be more acceptable -- since studies have shown that a teen's natural pattern of sleep is to go to bed later and wake up later, says Isaacson.

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