Sleep can make or break a day for students, depending on how much rest they get at night. A recent study published in Medical Xpress found that homeschooled teens generally get more sleep than students who attend public or private high schools. If you plan your student's academic day reasonably around his or her sleep schedule, distance learning can have a similar impact on your child's sleep routine.
The difference in sleep between the teens in the study seems to stem from start times at public and private high schools. Led by Lisa Meltzer, a sleep psychologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, the study shows that hormone changes in the teenage brain prompt teens to stay awake later into the night and sleep longer in the morning. Students who complete their schooling from home can avoid early school start times that conflict with these physiological changes. The homeschooled students in the study received an average of 90 more minutes of sleep per night than students who travel to attend high school classes.
Like homeschoolers, distance learners can also benefit from this news. However, good sleep habits must be developed and enforced in order for your student to achieve optimal rest. Such habits can and should begin at a young age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep guidelines for children of various ages.
Preschoolers between the ages of three and five generally require 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night. To help your youngster achieve proper rest, create a routine sleep schedule that includes relaxing activities before bedtime. End the evening in the child's bedroom, which should be kept cool, dark, quiet, and free of stimulating electronics.
School-aged children between the ages of 5 and 12 typically require 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. At this age, students often begin to acquire more responsibilities and partake in more activities that can interfere with sleep. To keep your student on a healthy sleep schedule, reiterate the importance of consistent sleep habits and continue to foster a relaxing sleep environment free of electronics. Encourage your student to avoid caffeine, which can disrupt the ability to sleep.
Teens typically require somewhere between 8 1/2 and 9 1/4 hours of sleep per night. In addition, hormone changes during puberty prevent most teens from falling asleep before 11 p.m. Though your student should still maintain a steady sleep schedule, consider adjusting it as these changes occur. Once a routine is established, stick to it! Even on weekends when teens are tempted to stay up and sleep in late, encourage them to emulate their weeknight routine. Doing so will help your student's body establish a regular sleep pattern, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake well rested. Continue to maintain a relaxing atmosphere within your teen's room by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. Avoid caffeine, stimulating events such as physical activity, and using electronics before bedtime. Instead, encourage your student to read a book or do another relaxing activity to end the day.