The Power of Sleep

Sleep has been top of the agenda at assemblies this week with students learning about how important sleep is for good health and for doing well at school.

Led by Key Stage 3 Progress Leader, Joe Newton, the assemblies focused on how getting good sleep and the right amount of sleep improves the academic performance and general well-being of young people.

“Sleep is a very powerful thing.  Lack of sleep badly affects your performance in school; you feel tired and have low energy levels, you are distracted,” Mr Newton told the students.  “Too little sleep is a barrier to success and can affect your mental health, relationships and friendships.

Recent studies have shown that young people, especially teenagers are only getting 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night when in fact then need between 9 and 11 hours.  Health workers also say there is an increase in sleep problems in all children and that going to bed too late and the use of technology before bed are large parts of the problem.

What sleep does

Sleep is vital for our brains and during sleep we commit short-term memories to our cortex, our long-term memory.  This is vital for remembering, recalling and retrieval of information.  “Not only will you feel better with more sleep, it’s really good for learning.  The power of sleep is that you a literally ‘learning’ while you’re sleep,” said Mr Newton.

During the assemblies students were presented with interesting figures showing the results of sleep experiments with young people.  Teenagers with just one extra hour a night improved concentration, memory and problem solving abilities by more than 50%.  In fact a young person who sleeps well is more likely to:

  • Perform well at school
  • Control their emotions better
  • Feel and stay well and
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Adopt a Good Sleep Routine for Quality Sleep:

  • Go to bed earlier and at the same time every night
  • Eat a snack such as a banana or porridge before bed.  Avoid fizzy drinks, chocolate and coffee. No Caffeine!
  • Take a bath or shower 30 minutes before going to bed
  • No phones, tablets or TV during the hour before bed

Making a few changes and getting an extra hour can make a huge difference you school, social and family life.  One hour less sleep a night can reduce academic performance by two years.  “Just look at what that extra hour can give you,” concludes Mr Newton.