Everyone needs sleep. Sleep helps to rejuvenate the body, heal the body and assist the brain in assessing the actions of the day that has passed. How much should one sleep?
March 13 is World Sleep Day and so it the perfect day to talk about the power of sleep and what happens if we don’t sleep. Did you know that a person can die more rapidly from lack of sleep than from lack of food? Scientists believe that a person can die 3 times quicker from sleep deficiency than from food deprivation. After only 11 days the body shows signs of failure: loss of speech, weakening of eyesight, and deterioration of the ability to think.
According to the UK National Health Service this is how much sleep our students should be getting:
5 years night time: 11 hours
6 years night time: 10.75 hours
7 years night time: 10.5 hours
8 years night time: 10.25 hours
9 years night time: 10 hours
10 years night time: 9.75 hours
11 years night time: 9.5 hours
12/13 years night time: 9.25 hours
14 years night time: 9 hours
15 years night time: 8.75 hours
16 years night time: 8.5 hours
So how much sleep are your students getting?
Scientists state that teenagers need lots of sleep. Teachers have known this for decades! Are your students aware that not getting enough sleep is damaging to their bodies? It might even be a good excuse for failing a test or not knowing an answer!
“Sorry Miss. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
Your student might be right! Not sleeping means the brain does not have time (and rest) to process what was learnt during the day and so memory is reduced. Lack of sleep is closely tied to depression; many insomniacs are depressed. Sleeplessness is also linked to accidents – you become more accident prone when sleepy. Not only are you more prone to accidents, your body doesn’t heal if it doesn’t sleep and you can even suffer from heart problems in later life as a result.
Talk about good and bad activities to do just before going to sleep.
Naturally, all activities involving relaxing are good. For example reading, listening to gentle music or even the CD from the graded text the language teacher has prescribed, watching a relaxing film on TV, having a warm bath, going to bed at the same time every night. On the other hand, activities that involve raucous laughing, running, indeed anything that sends the heart rate up, are deemed not helpful. Remind your students that reading, studying and writing in bed before going to sleep are not to be encouraged as these activities need to be separated from actually sleeping.
How many synonyms do your students know for ‘sleep’?
There are verbs ,nouns , adverbs and/or adjectives:
a power sleep, a catnap, to catch 40 winks, to study one’s eyelids from the inside, to snooze, to doze, to kip, to slumber, to nod off, a siesta, a rest, to get (a bit of) shut eye, to catch a few zs, to drowse, to have a beauty sleep, to put one’s head down, to be in the land of Nod, to be in the arms of Morpheus, to be asleep, to sleep like a log.
For a more fun type of activity, look at the worksheet where the students have to match the personality types to the basic sleeping position.