One (relatively) easy way to improve kids’ performance in school is to make sure they have good sleep habits. Adequate sleep can have an impact on engagement, so being aware of your child’s sleep schedule and encouraging good sleep habits may actually increase your their potential for academic achievement.

Here are 5 ways that getting a good night’s sleep may help your child succeed:

1. Increased concentration
Poor sleep can affect your child’s ability to concentrate and is even associated with a greater risk for ADHD. Therefore, establishing good sleep habits may improve your child’s ability to focus and maintain attention, which are key ingredients for academic success.

2. More energy
When your child is rested they will likely have more energy and motivation for learning. Well-rested children may also participate in greater levels of physical activity, which has been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function.

3. Better nutrition
Poor sleep has been linked to unhealthy food choices. Consuming large amounts of sugar and eating few fruits and vegetables is associated with obesity and low academic achievement. Additionally, children who sleep better are less likely to use other substances such as caffeine, nicotine, and illegal drugs which can negatively affect academic performance.

4. Improved psychological functioning
A good night’s sleep is associated with decreased stress and improved mood. Furthermore, children with better sleep habits are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Optimal psychological functioning can help your child perform better in both social situations and in the classroom.

5. Positive effects on the brain
Sleep has restorative effects on the brain and is important for memory consolidation. Sleep is also involved in decision-making and learning processes. In fact, establishing good sleep habits in youth may not only help your child do well in school, but may also help prevent dementia when they are older.

If your child’s habits are good but they’re still waking up grumpy or achy, be sure to consider whether it might be time to get a new bed. Sinking into a comfortable cocoon of cushiness makes sleep a lot more alluring than a hard, flat, lumpy, or too-short sleeping surface. Especially as kids enter their tween years, it’s important to make sure the stage is set for the best chance of success.

Bring your kid with you!

When you do go mattress and pillow shopping for your child, it’s important to consider their opinion. She’s about to spend 1/3 (or more) of her time in that bed. Before you go, jot down some notes. Find out what she likes and doesn’t like about her bed, and where she thinks are the best and worst beds in the world. If she loves sleeping at a friend’s house because there’s a bed like a pillow, check it out next time you pick her up. By listening to her needs, you’re more likely to set her up with a sleeping situation that will actually work, and if she makes a bad decision, she can’t blame it on you every day for the next 8 years!

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