UVA medical study: Early bedtimes make kids smarter

Well, it looks like mothers throughout the ages were right all along. According to UVA medical researchers, getting your kids to bed earlier will help them do better in school.

In 2000, researchers at the University of Virginia received a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study sleep apnea in children, a condition where breathing is obstructed during sleep. In adults, the most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, while in children it tends to be a less audible restriction of airflow. The study sought to determine if lack of sleep might slow a child's mental and behavioral development. Six years later, results from the study have appeared in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Fifty-six children between the ages of 6 and 12 with night-time breathing problems were observed for the study. Using wrist activity monitors, sleep diaries, and snoring assessments from parents, researchers observed the kids for six days and then administered vocabulary and similarity-matching tests on the seventh. The study found that kids who spent an average of 557 minutes in bed and who did not snore did much better on the tests than snoring kids who spent around 521 minutes in bed.

"Our results... show that kids who are not in bed as long don't do as well," study director Dr. Paul M. Suratt told Reuters.

And there you have it. $1.3 million to prove that Ben Franklin was right. "Early to bed, early to rise..."

2 comments

That is one well-done posting on my favorite local blog!! Great BF quote too.

The title of the article is totally misleading. The research appears to be about breathing abnormalities. Does anyone still proofread? According to the implied inference children who sleep 24 hours a day should be brilliant. I'd like to see the experimental design of this study.