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  The importance of sleep
Updated 29 January 2004, 17.50

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Health influences

German scientists think that your brain doesn't take a break while you're asleep, and instead keeps on thinking.

In this activity, students advise a friend on how to avoid sleepless nights.

Learning aims

  • The function and importance of sleep

  • Give advice to someone having trouble sleeping
Read the stories:

Discuss the following questions:

1. Why is it important to get enough sleep?

  • It repairs body and mind.

  • Your dreams help your brain to sort out all the information that it has been dealing with.

  • Deep sleep helps body tissues to regenerate.

  • Sleepless nights are often a contributory factor to poor school performance.
2. What happens if you don't sleep?

A 17-year-old schoolboy, Randy Gardner, stayed awake for 11 days in 1964. He holds the record for sleep deprivation. He began to suffer from:

  • Blurred vision and incoherent speech
  • He saw objects as people
  • He suffered a mild degree of paranoia

How well did he recover?

He recovered quickly when he finally slept. On the first night afterwards he slept for 8 hours and on the next night 15 hours.

Challenge the class by reading out the questions from our Sleep Quiz:

Answers for the sleep quiz:

1. B
2. A
3. B
4. C
5. C

Main activity
The students discuss what they think is the best way of making sure of a good night's sleep.

They can discuss ideas from the list below and add their own. Some may help and some prevent a good night's sleep:

  • Good sleeping routine
  • Try to relax
  • Get up and do something
  • Exercise to try and wear yourself out
  • Get exercise during the day
  • Listen to some music
  • Drink some milky tea or coffee
  • Try to 'count sheep'
  • Eat plenty of food before you go to bed

Extension activity
Students give a written response to the question:

"I feel really tired but I just can't get to sleep. What should I do?"

Recap on the main teaching points and students present their advice for someone having sleepless nights.

Teachers' Background

Advice for when you can't sleep:

  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

  • Don't stay in bed because you've had a bad night's sleep. Get up so that you don't disturb your internal clock.

  • If you wake at night, relax in bed for a while. If that doesn't work, get up and try some quiet activity until you are sleepy again.

  • Chocolate, coffee, tea and soft drinks that have caffeine in them may keep you awake. Your body needs four to five hours to halve the amount of caffeine in your blood.

  • Give yourself some time to write down worries or concerns about what you will do the next day.

  • Don't eat too much just before bedtime.

  • Regular exercise during the day will help you sleep.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
Sci/TechLack of sleep is making kids ill
Sci/TechSleeping helps you solve problems
Sci/TechCounting sheep keeps you up
VoteVote: When is bed time?
QuizTry our sleep quiz


Web Links
Loughborough Sleep Research Centre
Note: You will leave CBBC. We are not responsible for other websites.



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