I had a client who was a mediocre student. Her parents worked really hard to help her improve her academics. They studied with her. They paid for tutors, and even obtained a 504 plan from the school district. Things got a little bit better for her, but not significantly relative to the extra time and money spent on better study habits. When she started counseling the VERY FIRST thing we had her do is start giving herself the opportunity to sleep 8.5 hours per night. Of course she might not actually be asleep that long, but if she’d go to bed lights and electronics off 8.5 hours before she had to get up, at least she had the opportunity to sleep enough. Within two weeks her mood and academic performance improved far more than anything else she’d tried.
A couple months later she had a musical theater performance through her high school. Anyone involved in high school theater knows the week before and the week of the show a student cannot even consider coming home before 10pm. For those two weeks she got inadequate sleep. For the next while her academics suffered again until she was sleeping more.
Why do I share this girl’s story with you? Getting enough sleep is a HUGE part of your child’s success in school. Please make sure their time to rest is carefully guarded. For that matter, please make sure you also have good habits around sleep. You’ll be a better parent, employee, spouse, etc.
Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT