Wednesday, January 21, 2015
A a good night’s sleep is linked to better performance in math and language
A study by researchers at McGill and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute published recently in the journal Sleep Medicine found that a good night’s sleep is linked to better performance in math and languages – subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success.
The researchers reported that “sleep efficiency” is associated with higher academic performance in those key subjects. Sleep efficiency is a gauge of sleep quality that compares the amount of actual sleep time with the total time spent in bed.
While other studies have pointed to links between sleep and general academic performance, the Montreal scientists examined the impact of sleep quality on report-card grades in specific subjects. The upshot: with greater sleep efficiency, the children did better in math and languages – but grades in science and art weren’t affected.
“We believe that executive functions (the mental skills involved in planning, paying attention, and multitasking, for example) underlie the impact of sleep on academic performance, and these skills are more critical in math and languages than in other subjects,” says Reut Gruber, a clinical child psychologist who led the study.
Low academic achievement in children is a common and serious problem that affects 10-20 per cent of the population. “Short or poor sleep is a significant risk factor for poor academic performance that is frequently ignored,” says Gruber, who is a researcher at the Douglas Institute and professor in McGill’s Department of Psychiatry."