Children and teenagers need more hours of sleep as compared to adults. This is because their bodies are growing and developing, a process that requires a well-rested body to continue properly. Besides this, enough sleep is very important for them to maintain alertness and activeness the following day at school. Lack of sleep leads to inefficient brain function which impacts significantly on their academic performance.
Unfortunately, not many students get the required amount of sleep at night. Between schoolwork demands, homework, playtime, social and family engagements, most are left without enough hours to get ample sleep. It is your duty as a teacher to ensure that your students perform well at school. Helping them build healthy sleep habits goes a long way in ensuring that your students are well-rested for improved academic performance since sleep affects their success. Here are 5 ways to achieve this.
Teach them about the importance of sleep
Your students probably know that sleep deprivation can cause a lack of focus and alertness. However, they probably don’t know that enough sleep is linked to other things that they need at schools such as memory, creativity, and decision-making. If they knew that enough sleep could enhance the functionality of these skills, they are likely to take sleep time with the seriousness that it requires.
What you can do as a teacher is to have more lessons about the importance of sleep in the timetable. Ensure that you package the lectures in a way that your students perceive learning better. Teach them about the correlation between sleep and their health, moods, memory formation, and academic performance among others.
Let them experience it practically
Just telling your students about the importance of sleep might not be enough. Having them experience it practically can be more effective in driving the point home. A good way to go about this is to have them keep a sleep diary. Have them record the time they go to bed, the time that they wake up, and the duration of their sleep. They can also record how they feel each morning and the whole day. Let them observe their study time and ability to memorize new information.
After keeping the diary for a week, you can have a class discussion about the impact of quality sleep, of sufficient sleep or lack of it on various things. Help them recognize how getting enough sleep benefits their physical and emotional state the next day. Let them see how they were able to study better when they were well-rested.
Share with them scientific information on sleep
For further motivation, teach your students what the brain goes through during sleep. Talk about the REM and non-REM phases of the sleep cycle. The non-REM phase that occurs after about six hours of sleep is particularly important in-memory storage. It is in this phase that the brain transforms recently acquired information into long-term memories. When the students understand the importance of this phase, they are likely to see the value of sleeping for more hours.
Preparing notes on such scientific information can be daunting especially if you are not more into science subjects. You can find help from experts so that you can have more reliable information to share with your students. You can hire freelance medical writers by using a freelance platform like Kolabtree to help you write articles on the scientific part of sleep.
Equip them with healthy sleep habits
After sharing the importance of sleep with your students, it is only right that you teach them about healthy sleep habits. This way, they can be able to have improved sleep quality.
Such habits include maintaining a regular sleep schedule all days of the week including the weekends. They should also keep their bedrooms cool, quiet, and dark for a conducive sleeping environment. Tell them to avoid heavy meals, strenuous work, screen time and stimulants such as coffee hours before bedtime, and much more.
Extend the lectures to the parents/guardians
Most parents emphasize the need to sleep early for their kids during school nights only. Children are left to decide the time they sleep and wake up during holidays and weekends. This mostly happens because not all parents or guardians understand the importance of enough sleep for the children. Making them aware that sleep benefits health in so many ways can help them be more proactive in ensuring that the kids maintain healthy sleep habits at home.
Your effort in guiding your students in developing good sleep habits is a good step towards high-performing students. Besides this, you are instilling skills and knowledge that will help them now and in the future. Go ahead and prepare lectures about the importance of sleep, and teach them healthy sleep habits to practice at home. You can also hire experts to write articles on the scientific aspect of sleep. Help your students make self-observations of the impact of sleep on their performance the next day. Lastly, extend this information to their parents.
As you have read here, lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep affects every aspect of your life. Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep lab in Alaska, which locations in Anchorage, Wasilla, Soldotna, and Fairbanks. Call us today for a FREE sleep consultation.