Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Poor Sleeping Habits Hurt Kids at School

A Bad Night's Sleep Affects Children's Academic Performance

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 23, 2005 -- A major problem behind poor performance at school may lie in the bedroom rather than in the classroom.

New research suggests that poor sleeping habits and disturbed sleep can negatively affect children's thinking skills and academic performance and should be considered when poor student performance becomes an issue.

But researchers say many of the common causes of disturbed sleep, such as sleep-disordered breathing, are reversible, and studies show that treatment can correct the problem and help children behave and perform better at school.

Children's Sleep Should Be Considered at School

Researchers say most children need about nine hours of sleep a night to perform at optimum levels. But many children fail to get the recommended amount of sleep due to their family's schedule, work, early school start times, and childhood sleep disorders.

In the study, researchers reviewed 21 studies on children's sleep and academic performance. They found that poor sleep quality, erratic sleeping schedules, and late bedtimes and early rise times are associated with impaired academic performance among children from middle school through college years.

They say the results, which appear in the September issue of the Journal of School Health, suggest that poor sleep should be considered as a contributing factor to poor student performance.

Better Sleep Improves Academic Performance

"These children and their families should be asked about regularity and duration of sleep, bedtime resistance, sleep onset delay, night-wakings, sleep-disordered breathing, and increased day-time sleepiness," write researcher Howard Taras, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues.

"In many cases, when disordered breathing at night is the cause, intervention may not only improve sleep, but improve academic performance as well," says Taras in a news release.

For example, several studies showed that children with disrupted sleep from sleep-disordered breathing showed improvement in their performance at school and their behavior after surgical treatment.

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
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd