By the time they enter sixth grade, many middle-class children sleep so little during the school week that daytime drowsiness may compromise their ability to pay attention and learn, a new study suggests.
This situation derives from a combination of factors, say psychologist Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University in Israel and his colleagues. Children tend to fall asleep at increasingly later times as they move from the second to the sixth grade, while continuing to be awakened at the same time for school.
"Our study suggests that the sleep behavior of the older children may not be in accordance with their physiological needs," they contend. "These children are thus at risk of being chronically sleep deprived."
What's more, Sadeh's team finds that nearly 20 percent of kids in the second, fourth, and sixth grades have serious sleep problems that typically aren't perceived by either the children or their parents. In the study, sleep disturbances consisted of regularly bei