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Sleep is Crucial to Learning, Dr. Gracy Explains on WNBC


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Kids in elementary school need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, and even high-schoolers should get nine or more hours, says Children’s Health Fund Chief Medical Officer Delaney Gracy.

In an interview on WNBC-TV in New York City, Gracy said both the quality and quantity of sleep matter. A child who’s coughing more than once a week should be assessed for asthma; a child who’s gasping, snorting or snoring a lot may have sleep apnea. She encouraged parents not to be shy about raising the issue of sleep with their child’s pediatrician.

“If the doctor doesn’t ask them, are they snoring, are they coughing, are there any problems with sleep, we’d really encourage parents to bring that up because those are really important things to address; they can make a big difference with how a kid will do in school,” Gracy said.

Download our checklist of questions to ask at your child’s back-to-school physical.

Diane Debrovner, Deputy Editor of Parents Magazine, which is partnering with Children’s Health Fund on the EVERY CHILD A CHANCE campaign, explained that getting enough sleep not only ensures that your child is awake and ready to learn during the day – it’s also a key step in childrens’ learning process.

“When they’re in two different types of sleep, REM sleep, which is Rapid Eye Movement sleep, and deep sleep – that’s actually when the memories from the day get consolidated and brain connections happen,” said Debrovner.