New research shows that sleepy children need some kind of intervention to help them get the sleep they need. According to the 2016-2017 National Survey of Children’s Health, fewer than half of America’s school-aged children are getting the recommended amount of sleep each night (9 -11 hours). Furthermore, those same sleep-deprived children demonstrated behaviors that may keep them from reaching their full potential, such as persistence in the face of adversity and less interest in learning. And parents seem to be fighting a losing battle or have given up altogether.
Would a Sleep Course Really Work?
A new study published in the Journal of Sleep Research suggests that a well-designed school-based sleep intervention could help young people get the sleep they need. Exploring if an educational sleep curriculum could improve sleep duration in high schoolers, researchers in Sweden found that students who attended a five-session class on sleep best practices were “about two times less likely to report insufficient sleep at follow-up as compared to controls.”
The study’s sleep intervention consisted of five 50-60-minute sessions over the course of six or seven weeks attended by 286 high school students. (Over 3,000 students from the same schools did not receive sleep training and were used as the control group for comparison.)
The program included two main components:
- sleep education about the importance of sleep and good sleep practices
- time management training to help students prioritize activities and reduce stress
The program also included a section on the impact of social media and digital technology on sleep. Finally, parents were encouraged to support their children’s efforts to manage their time, avoid distractions from homework, and practice better sleep hygiene.
Before the intervention, students were asked about their sleep knowledge, how long they usually slept, their stress levels, and their bedtime use of digital technology. This data was compared to the results of a follow-up survey one year after the program. Data from the control group was also used for comparison.