This lesson helps young people understand how important sleep is to growing bodies and minds. The youth will determine how many hours of sleep they should get each night and learn how to track healthy sleeping habits in a sleep diary.
Introduce the topic of sleep by asking the questions below and facilitating a discussion with the participants’ answers.
How many hours should kids sleep every night? Let young people guess first. Then tell them the answer according to the following guidelines:
Then ask them: OK, so if you get up at (use an example of a time they might get up), what time should you go to sleep at night to make sure you get enough hours in? Help young people figure this out if they cannot do it on their own.
Why do kids need plenty of sleep? Let the youth answer, but make sure they understand the following reasons why sleep is important:
Is all sleep the same? Let young people answer first and then explain that just like nature is full of cycles (the earth rotates, causing cycles of light and darkness – day and night; the moon has cycles) we have cycles in our sleep as well. Our bodies can’t get fully rested unless they are able to go through all the cycles several times. Explain that there are five stages in one cycle of sleep. Each cycle of sleep takes about 90 minutes. That means that within 10 hours of sleep we go through about six cycles and 33 stages of sleep.
Ask the youth to think about what bedtime is like right now.
Can you name some things that might help you have better bedtime habits? When young people come up with helpful ideas for how to develop good sleep habits, ask them to write them down on a piece of paper in checklist form. (Alternately, create a master checklist based on the answers and distribute copies.) Possible answers:
A good night’s sleep is important. Keep track of your sleeping habits using a sleep diary.
After a full night of sleep, you wake up ready for a new day of school, fun activities or family time. You use a lot of energy throughout your day to go to school, play outside, do your homework, participate in sports, practice an instrument, and play with your friends. After all of that, your body needs sleep! Your body is just like a car’s gas tank, full in the morning and empty at the end of the day. If your family has a car, your parents have to fill up the car’s gas tank. Getting enough sleep will help you to fill up YOUR own gas tank! A full tank gives you enough energy to stay busy and do your best each and every day!
When you get enough sleep, you can:
When you don’t get enough sleep, you can:
You should talk to your parents and doctor if you:
Ask the young people to use this sleep diary to keep track of their sleep over the next week to help them know how healthy their sleep habits are or are not.
Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, so that families can continue discussing healthy sleep habits at home.
Promoting a good night’s sleep
Are your kids getting enough sleep?