Can sleep and reading ability be linked?

Strange as it may seem, recent research suggests that children’s reading ability may well be negatively affected by sleeping problems.

The study, published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology, included 339 children aged four to 14 years.  Parents completed questionnaires about their children’s sleeping patterns and the children were tested for word reading efficiency.

Children with reports of sleep-disordered breathing, daytime sleepiness and a short time needed to fall asleep (which is generally associated with increased tiredness) had poorer performance on reading tasks for both words and nonwords.

“Being a good reader is a strong predictor of academic success and improved life outcomes, so we recommend screening children with sleep problems for reading difficulties and children with reading difficulties for sleep problems” wrote author Anna Joyce, Ph.D., MSc, of Regent’s University London. “Screening and treating sleep and literacy difficulties at a young age could help to improve life outcomes for all children.”




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