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The Importance of Sleep for Learning

Did you know the longest anyone has ever stayed awake for was 453 hours? That’s almost 19 days! It was achieved by Robert McDonald in 1986. It’s definitely not recommended though.

Children should aim to get about 8-12 hours of sleep per night. If we stay up later, we start to notice our mental capacity is reduced almost immediately. We can no longer focus on tasks as well as we should. Other brain functions are affected too, such as the ability to make memories, problem-solving, creativity, emotional processing, and judgment to name a few.

More importantly, the longer children go without regularly getting enough sleep, the more it affects their performance in the classroom. Students who don’t get enough sleep have shorter attention spans and have trouble remembering what they learn.

There are also studies which suggest brain development is affected by not getting enough sleep. Adolescents who got less sleep as children tend to perform more poorly compared to their peers who did get enough sleep growing up. Worryingly, there are suggestions this can lead to long term effects too, potentially causing mental impairment such as dementia and Alzheimer’s in old age.




https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/children-s-sleep-linked-brain-developmentLancet Child & Adolescent Health on July 29, 2022.