Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientific Study: Sleep Makes Children Smarter

22.02.2010
A research project has been launched to study for the first time whether children perform better at school when they sleep longer and more soundly.

Children in primary school will participate in a special training to improve their sleep behaviour. Experts will then examine how this affects the children's performance at school.

This study - which is supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF - will not only provide valuable scientific insight into sleeping behaviour, but will also evaluate sleep improvement techniques that can be taught to all children with the aim of improving their performance at school.

We know that sleep is essential for survival, but we do not yet know for sure which particular functions sleep performs in living things. It has been proven, however, that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders can lead to various psychological and physical problems, whereas improving sleep quality has a positive effect on people.

In a current study, Dr. Kerstin Hoedlmoser and Dr. Manuel Schabus from the Department of Psychology at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg are investigating whether sleeping longer and more soundly improves the memory capacity of schoolchildren and helps boosting their performance. The research project focuses on 60 children aged between eight and eleven. It aims not only to examine their sleep behaviour but also to improve it with special training methods.

LEARNING HOW TO SLEEP
The study seeks to have a positive impact on the duration and quality of the children's sleep by teaching them different methods. To this end, the participants are divided randomly into two groups. Dr. Hoedlmoser explains: "One group of the children receives a standard sleep education program. In this group, playful interventions are used to teach the children sleep hygiene rules and relaxation techniques to improve their sleep quality. The other group takes part in a neurofeedback training where the children voluntarily learn to control their neuronal activity." During the neurofeedback training, brain-signals are measured using sensors and evaluated simultaneously by a computer program. The computer promptly provides positive feedback when the brain's activity is in the ideal frequency range for rest and relaxation. Based on this positive feedback, the participants learn to control the activities of their brain on demand. This strategy is designed to help the children to relax during the onset of sleep and to fall asleep more easily. Both methods should enhance the duration and quality of their sleep.

Every child will complete various tests at the beginning and end of the study to evaluate memory, concentration and performance at school. This will provide the researchers with an insight into the relationship between sleep and cognitive performance. Dr. Hoedlmoser obtained clear results with a similar study conducted with adult participants: "We showed that neurofeedback training improves the sleep behaviour of adults. Subjects were able to fall asleep faster and were also far more successful in recalling word pairs." The presented study is now seeking to determine whether similar results can be achieved within schoolchildren.

SLEEP PROBLEMS AMONG CHILDREN
The current research project offers an interesting approach because not only adults suffer from sleep problems. As Dr. Hoedlmoser has proven in another study involving 330 children from primary schools, sleep problems are already widespread among eight to eleven-year-olds: "Many children show a sleep onset delay or report difficulties waking up in the morning. Others refuse going to bed, or their restless legs prevent them from finding restorative sleep. Furthermore, children who watch television or play computer games before going to bed are complaining more often about nightmares."

Because of the high relevance of sleep problems among young children, this FWF-supported project focuses on this particular age group. The study is interested in gaining a scientific insight into sleep behaviours among children and additionally investigating preventive techniques for sleep problems. It is for these reasons that the findings of the study will be published and made available to the general public once it has been concluded.

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Kerstin Hoedlmoser
Paris Lodron University
Department of Psychology
Hellbrunnerstrasse 34
5020 Salzburg
Austria
T +43 / 662 / 8044 - 5143
M +43 / 650 / 59 83 523
E kerstin.hoedlmoser@sbg.ac.at
Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Mag. Stefan Bernhardt
Haus der Forschung
Sensengasse 1
1090 Vienna
Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8111
E stefan.bernhardt@fwf.ac.at
Copy Editing & Distribution:
PR&D - Public Relations for Research & Education Campus Vienna Biocenter 2 1030 Vienna Austria T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44 E contact@prd.at W http://www.prd.at

Marta Korinkova | PR&D
Further information:
http://www.fwf.ac.at
http://www.fwf.ac.at/en/public_relations/press/pv201002-en.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>