Sleep is a crucial and often underappreciated part of a student’s lives, from primary school through to senior secondary.
Aside from the obvious perk of feeling refreshed and alert in the morning as opposed to tired and lethargic, there are a stack of advantages associated with a good nights’ sleep that can promote academic performance and defend against problems common in the everyday lives of students.
When you break it down, so much of school (tests, assessments, exams, rules) comes down to remembering the right information. Considering memory and learning is consolidated during REM sleep, the phase in the cycle following deep sleep, it is ideal for children and adolescents to get plenty of shut-eye.
Failure to attain the appropriate amount of sleep can have ramifications for young people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. These can include increased blood pressure, low self-esteem, poor eating habits, mood swings and aggressive behaviour, along with susceptibility to illness.
There is no one size fits all model, but the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep has guidelines around how much sleep young people should be getting based on their age range:
The benefits of sleep are well-established, but what if it’s easier said than done? These tips may help: