Mindfulness Can Help Kids Get More Z’s

A little boy asleep in bed with shadows of a T-Rex and a man fighting behind him.

Sleep can elude everyone at times, even children. But new research suggests that a mindfulness practice can help your kiddos get more sleep.

Research from Stanford University School of Medicine posits that mindfulness exercises practiced over a two-year period helped third and fifth graders sleep an extra hour or more per night.

The researchers studied 115 children from lower-income homes in areas of Northern California that had “historically high rates of violence and crime”—factors that often increase stress in kids.

The children were split into one group of 58, who continued their usual physical education class at school. Another group of 57 incorporated breathing techniques and yoga-inspired movements into their activities.

When looking at the study’s data, researchers found that the children who participated in mindfulness practices slept an average of 74 minutes longer. Of that sleep, 24 additional minutes were spent in the REM stage. This is particularly important as REM sleep is the stage tied to memory, learning, and mood stabilization.
Unfortunately, most public schools in the United States don’t offer mindfulness or yoga practices as part of the elementary school curriculum. However, with parental assistance, any child can learn these techniques. And best of all, they’re not cost-prohibitive—children from any socio-economic status can benefit.
Want to teach your child mindfulness techniques? Quiet time rituals are a good place to start. Then, you can also incorporate free technology resources, like the Headspace x Seasame Street collaboration on YouTube.
Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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