If you are a teacher and find that it is becoming more and more difficult for your pupils to keep their eyes open during classes, it is NOT your fault. Ignore those who might snigger. Do not become discouraged about your teaching abilities. Do not despair. I know personally how this feels. Believe me I have seen my share of sleepy faces in the classroom… Red eyes , yawns, dropping heads ..The lot.
These days , more than ever, pupils are coming to school deprived of their much needed sleep. It is in fact becoming an ‘epidemic’ in particular amongst the 12 to 16 year olds. I know…you are probably thinking that the term epidemic is overused but the seriousness and the widespread nature of this problem warrants it.
Sleep deprivation HAS BEEN identified as being a significant factor in lowering academic achievement by teams of educational researchers who have carried out extensive research, part of a global educational investigation. The study which took over a decade covered a large number of schools in a number of different countries. Data derived from tests in maths and literacy were compared with levels of sleep within each groups of pupils of similar age, family background and diet.
Although their findings show that the problem is worldwide , it is the more technologically advanced countries that seem to suffer the most. They have also been able to identify the 13-16 year olds as the age group most adversely affected. The use of mobile phones, computers and television viewing in the bedroom up to the late hours of the night were found out to be major contributors. The lack of supervision of the sleep schedules at home was also mentioned. All in all not surprising considering that the technology and liberal parenting have come a long way over the recent years.
Lack of sleep affects us all.Whatever the age. Most of us underestimate the impact of sleep.Without sleep our brains struggle to absorb and retain ideas,comprehend, make decisions…So it no wonder that the young minds suffer. Their learning capacities lessen, concentration spans shorten and some even become potentially disruptive. As teachers struggle to accommodate these pupils , the teaching mode becomes driven down , the overall mood of the classroom changes so the others getting enough sleep suffer as well.
However ALL IS NOT LOST. According to sleep experts , young brains adjust to a new sleep pattern readily. Going back to 7-9 hours of regular sleep per night will most likely restore their ability to concentrate and learn in a very short period of time. Not only will they become more alert they will be happier as well. Thankfully there is no ‘ Old habits die hard ‘ issue here.
So kids. Please take note. No more late nights. No bright screens .. which really do disrupt the nature onset of sleep . No ‘I do not want to waste time on sleep’ talk ( by the way that reminds me of myself as a teenager decades ago! ). Remember time management is the key. With a little effort you can study, play, relax and have enough sleep too.
The rest is up to us..The adults. TEACHERS and PARENTS alike. The monitors. The advisors. Positive guidance is never a bad thing.