Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size

    Parents Often Unaware Kids Not Sleeping Enough

    Most Fifth-Graders Surveyed Say They Don't Get Enough Sleep
    WebMD Health News

    April 20, 2005 -- In classrooms across America, many students may be a little bit "out of it" because they didn't sleep well last night.

    So says a recent survey in the Journal of School Health. About 200 fifth-grade students were polled, and most said they didn't get enough sleep at least a few nights per week.

    That's no surprise to their teachers, who reported yawns, misbehavior, and sleep-problem complaints from their students. But some parents didn't seem to know that their kids were secretly staying up past bedtime or tossing and turning, the study suggests.

    The Goal: 10-11 Hours Per Night

    Ideally, elementary school children should get 10-11 hours of sleep per night, say the researchers, who included Denise Amschler, PhD, a professor of physiology and health science at Ball State University.

    "Good sleep is as important as daily exercise and proper nutrition," says Amschler's study.

    Most of the students she surveyed said they didn't get enough sleep. One in four said they slept too little five to seven times per week, and 39% said they didn't get enough sleep two to four nights per week.

    Typical Bedtimes

    On school nights, most said they went to bed at 9 or 9:30 p.m. However, bedtimes of 10 p.m. or later were common.

    That makes getting 10 or 11 hours of sleep difficult since 83% of kids were up by 7 a.m.

    The study doesn't link up bedtimes and rising times for each child. But if a student went to bed at 10 p.m., for example, and rose at 6:30 a.m., that would be 8.5 hours of sleep -- far short of the mark.

    That sleep deficit could cast a shadow over the child's day. Just like adults, the mood and performance of kids might suffer with sleep deprivation.

    Nearly half of the students said they argued with their parents at bedtime.

    Many kids disobeyed their assigned bedtime, secretly staying up later than their parents realized. About 30% said they stayed up later than their parents knew five to seven nights per week. Another 32% admitted doing so two to four times per week.

    Kids with TVs and computers in their bedrooms might be tempted to stay up late, say the researchers. However, their study didn't ask about bedroom TVs and computers.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
    mother and daughter talking
    child brushing his teeth
    Sipping hot tea
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    hand holding a cell phone
    rl with friends
    girl being bullied
    Child with adhd