CHILDREN'S poor sleep can be improved greatly by teaching better habits in school and home, research has found.
A Dublin City University (DCU) study showed a notable improvement after five weeks.
The link between inadequate sleep levels in children and poor engagement with school is well documented.
Poor sleep duration causes excessive daytime tiredness, which leads to problems with concentration, attention and cognitive functioning.
The DCU study sought to examine the importance of sleep health among children in urban areas of high poverty.
By implementing a five-week intervention programme, the attitudes of pupils towards their own sleep behaviour, their motivation to improve their sleep health and their approach to using electronic media before bedtime, greatly improved.
The programme included curricular-based lessons on sleep health in school and parental involvement in the form of an information session with a professional sleep health consultant.
It also included sleep diaries by children, allowing them to reflect on their own habits.
The sample study found a 31 per cent improvement in daytime sleepiness following trialled techniques. There was also a 21 per cent improvement in bed and wake times.
In addition, children had increased awareness of the negative impacts of the use of electronic media on sleep.
There was also an increase in children going to bed before 11pm post intervention - from 75 to 96 per cent.
Report co-author Dr Paul Downes said the inexpensive, brief intervention revealed real change.
"Previous research has shown that almost two-thirds of pupils were taught by teachers who said that their teaching was limited to some extent or a lot because pupils were not getting enough sleep," he said.
"This intervention, which is innovative in its approach, provides a possible model for implementing a sleep health programme in the Irish primary curriculum to address the current Irish national policy neglect of this issue."