The Atlantic

Teach Kids to Daydream

Mental downtime makes people more creative and less anxious.
Source: Charles Platiau / Reuters

Today’s children are exhausted, and not just because one in three kids is not getting sufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation in kids (who require at least nine hours a night, depending on age) has been found to significantly decrease academic achievement, lower standardized achievement and intelligence test scores, stunt physical growth, encourage drug and alcohol use, heighten moodiness and irritability, exacerbate symptoms of ADD, and dramatically increase the likelihood of car accidents among teens. While the argument for protecting our children’s sleep time is compelling, there is another kind of rest that is equally underestimated and equally beneficial to our children’s academic, emotional, and creative lives: daydreaming.

I’ve been reading about daydreaming extensively lately, and it has caused me regret

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min read
An Imperfect SAT Adversity Score Is Better Than Just Ignoring Adversity
The College Board’s simple, straightforward indicator will make schools pay attention to the tough odds some applicants face.
The Atlantic7 min read
The Lucrative Black Market in Human Fat
In 16th- and 17th-century Europe, physicians, butchers, and executioners alike hawked the salutary effects of Axungia hominis.
The Atlantic5 min readTech
A Lesson From 1930s Germany: Beware State Control of Social Media
Regulators should think carefully about the fallout from well-intentioned new rules and avoid the mistakes of the past.