Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - If your child is irritable, impulsive, or struggling in school, there may be a simple solution.
A new Canadian study finds that getting kids to sleep just a half hour earlier each night can make a big impact on their mood and performance the next day.
Dr. Jyoti Krishna did not take part in the study, but treats pediatric sleep disorders at the Cleveland Clinic.
"This study is telling us that as little as 20-30 minutes can make a measurable difference the next morning in class,” the doctor said.
Researchers at the University of Quebec tracked the sleep habits of a group of 7 to 11-year-old children.
They found kids who went to bed an hour later than normal were impulsive, irritable, and not as alert. But kids who added anywhere from 27 to 60 minutes of sleep to their typical bedtimes saw a significant improvement in their behavior and performance at school.
Researchers say more than half of school-aged children go to bed later than 9 p.m., but adding as little as 20 to 30 minutes of sleep each night can have a significantly positive impact.
Krishna says kids in this age group should be getting about 10 hours of sleep each night.
"A child may be a relatively short sleeper. He may be a relatively long sleeper. The way you decide that is what do you do on the weekends? If on the weekends you're catching up, then obviously you are not getting enough sleep. And so, looking at this in a very prospective fashion parents can decide for themselves where the child fits in, but again, ballpark, about 10 hours of sleep in this age group is good,” Krishna said.