Do this one thing to help your teen do better at school

It's freely available to all but over 25% of teens don't get enough. Sleep is the forgotten secret to school success says a new report

A new World Health Organisation study has revealed one in four 11 to 15-year-olds in England have too little sleep, and this could be the single biggest negative impact on performance at school the following day. So telling your teen to go to bed – and following up so they actually do so – could be the single biggest way you could help them do better at school. 

More than a quarter of pupils surveyed said that they were too tired to concentrate in lessons and 50% of 15-year-olds said they have low moods at least once a week due to lack of sleep. 

According to a BBC report, Dr Ellen Klemera, senior research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire, which hosted the study, said: "Research on adolescent health has highlighted how important the second decade of life is for health and wellbeing, which is why this continued decline of emotional wellbeing is really worrying." Dr Klemera flags that the increase in reported sleep difficulties by teenagers needs to be addressed."

So, how much is enough? 

The Sleep Council, an impartial, advisory organisation that looks at how to adopt healthier sleep habits and awareness of the benefits of a a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing, sets down the following guidlines from 1-18 years old: 

1-3 years  =  12-14 hours sleep 

3-6 years  =  10-12 hours sleep 

7-12 years  =  10-11 hours sleep 

12-18 years  =  8-9 hours sleep* 

* Up to 10 hours is recommended by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), whose guidelines are published on the 'Sleep Hygiene for Children' page of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. They also say a good bedtime routine, which includes no screen technology, should start at least 30 minutes before bed.