BPS Journals: Good sleep habits help kids do better at school

Children who develop good sleep habits by age five do better at school according to a study published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology.

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology reviewed the sleep behaviour of nearly Australian 2,900 children from birth until they were 6 or 7 years old.

Their results showed that one-third had growing sleep problems in their first five years that put them at additional risk for attention disorders and emotional and behavioural problems in school.

Kate Williams, lead researcher, said "We now know 70 per cent of children are regulating their own sleep by five years, but for the remaining third it may be detrimental to them developmentally over time. The overwhelming finding is it's vital to get children's sleep behaviours right by the time they turn five."

Children with increasing sleep problems in early childhood were more likely to be hyperactive and to have more emotional outbursts in the classroom.

"If these sleep issues aren't resolved by the time children are 5 years old, then they are at risk of poorer adjustment to school. Parents can withdraw some habits, like lying with children over and over, letting them into their bed, it's really important to give children a sense of skill so they can do these things themselves" added Kate Williams.

The full journal title is ‘Early childhood profiles of sleep problems and self-regulation predict later school adjustment'.

The Society publishes 11 academic journal titles in conjunction with our publishing partner Wiley-Blackwell. The British Journal of Educational Psychology publishes original psychological research pertaining to education across all ages and educational levels. Visit wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/bjep  for more information.

Society members can access via PsychSource, our searchable journals, books and multimedia database, developed in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell. Abstracts are free to all, full-text free to members