CHILDREN AT RISK investigates the needs of the whole child and looks at the intersections of child-serving sectors. A variety of factors contribute to a child’s ability to learn, grow, and thrive. Just like hunger affects a student’s ability to learn or access to quality early childhood education influences long-term child health outcomes, sleep is vital to children’s overall health and well-being. 

A lack of sleep affects a child’s cognitive ability, memory, motor skills, and alertness – all of which impact school performance. According to experts at, sleep deprivation in kids results in emotional deficits and contributes to irrational and irritable moods or behaviors that prevent academic and social development. 

Despite its importance, sleep equity is a relatively new concept. Data from a Center for Disease Control study of nearly a half-million Americans points to a direct relationship between income and sleep. Race also has a direct relationship with the length and quality of sleep. Food and shelter insecurities, environmental disturbances, stress, and anxieties regarding safety, security, or well-being all may cause barriers to adequate quantities and quality of sleep.  

Common wisdom and extensive research inform adults that 8 hours of sleep per 24-hour cycle deliver optimum performance and well-being. Children need more hours of sleep for growth and development from birth through young adult, when ironically, they tend to receive the least amount of quality rest.  

At least four Texas cities, Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, are considered “sleep-deprived,” meaning adults in these cities average less than 7 hours of sleep per night. In fact, these four cities average less than 6 hours of sleep. Suppose if the adults are not getting adequate sleep, it is reasonable to wonder if Texas children also lack proper sleep and how this sleep deprivation affects the well-being of Texas families. Furthermore, are Texas’s sleep inequities related to race, gender, socioeconomic status, and geography? 

Children at Risk is proud to partner with the sleep professionals at Mattress Firm to delve into the amount of good sleep, or lack thereof, Texans experience. Together, we will take a deep dive into the data and share our findings to improve the quality of sleep for Texas families and ensure every child has access to the rest they need to flourish. 

CHILDREN AT RISK is a 501c3 research and advocacy nonprofit working to improve the quality of life for Texas’ children. Explore our most recent research  #ForChildren via the button below.