Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Can a Lack of Sleep Set Back Your Child's Cognitive Abilities?

With a new baby around, you can imagine that our family's sleep patterns are changing. To say that we are tired misses the point entirely... we're all a "bit slow" round the house. Arianna doesn't want to get up for the Montessori school that she dearly loves to go to, Beth is stressed and struggling with emotion... and mellow me is actually not catching those "snaps of testosterone". That's just the emotionaly impact... the cognitive impact is much worse. I've found it difficult to grok code-review changes that occured in the last 5 days at work... I couldn't even recognize a bad web.config connection-string issue (something that would have jumped out before the problem description was finished a mere week ago). It's getting better, though... today is better than yesterday by far... and the biggest difference is in how much sleep we've gotten. I can easily see the pattern in myself--I even might generalize to Beth--but did I extend this to a general behavior pattern for Arianna, or kids in general? I am not that smart (today?).

Today, I read an article by Po Bronson, who authored an article a while back that really resounded with me. I wrote about it here back in March. This new article shows astonishing evidence for the direct link between how much sleep a child gets and thier cognitive ability the next (and following days). In one study of 77 kids (half asked to stay up a little later and half asked to go to bed a little earlier) the resulting merely one hour difference in the amount of sleep showed the same cognitive difference after three days as that between an average 4th and 6th grader. In other words, three hours of sleep difference cost two years worth of cognitive ability.

So let, no MAKE, your kids (and you) get that extra sleep. Read more at: Can a Lack of Sleep Set Back Your Child's Cognitive Abilities?

1 comment:

alicewonderland said...

Yikes! I'm making Bella go to bed as soon as we get home. I hope you can catch up on your sleep in a few months. From my experience that's what it takes. In other words, I grok the newborn scene.