March 24, 2007
Medical researchers at UVa have found a link between the way your child sleeps and how it could affect their performance at school.
With grant money from Barron Associates of Charlottesville, the UVa Sleep Center monitored sleep patterns of elementary-age children.
“I wasn't getting that much sleep at all. I was just sleeping for about 7 or 8 hours, it was that bad,” said 10-year-old Amy Cabell.
“At a young age, they have such a hectic schedule, I thought it would be something interesting to participate in,” said Amy’s mother Darlene.
Dr. Suratt tested young children who showed poor sleep habits like snoring and sleep apnea.
He performed various sleep and thinking studies on them, and what he found was that the majority of kids who snored, tossed and turned in bed.
“Did not do well on these tests, on average they did significantly worse and the degree of impairment was similar to what you find with some kids exposed to lead,” said Dr. Suratt.
In Amy’s case, a laptop and a microphone were placed in her bedroom, and she now has to follow a strict sleep schedule.
“It’s refreshing me for the morning, and I’ve been doing better in school too,” said Amy.
Darlene said, “Her demeanor has changed in the morning because she’s actually getting a full ten hours of sleep.”
Dr. Suratt encourages Darlene to keep a closer eye on Amy, just as his mother did for him.
“Our mothers were right, and we confirmed this with making measurements of how kids did with the test and how much time they spent in bed,” said Dr. Suratt.
Amy said, “It’s important because it will make you even smarter, feel better, and plus, you get to get up and eat breakfast more often.”