5 ways to keep sleep-deprived students bright-eyed and bushy tailed
There are so many ways you can help support sleep-deprived students improve attainment and reduce rates of anxiety/obesity. Learn more in our latest blog.
Numbers of sleep-deprived students are on the up, leading to falling results and a real spike in reported rates of anxiety and obesity.
Described as an “epidemic”, some sleep clinics have seen a 30% increase in referrals of school-aged children over the last year alone.
Sleep deprivation is the single biggest factor that determines the well-being and mental health of students (teenagers in particular). So, we’ve come up with this list of ways you can support sleep-deprived students and help them to function at their best.
The best ways to support sleep-deprived students
Here are some of the options you should try to keep students awake and fully focused:
1) Keep them hydrated
Even minor levels of dehydration can make kids tired, lethargic and irritable.
Depending on their age, kids should be drinking 5-10 glasses of water every day to stay awake, around half of which should be consumed during the school day.
There are several ideas you can try to subtly encourage kids to drink more water. But the simplest is just to make water as widely available as you can.
Position water coolers in corridors and other spaces kids use regularly. Also, make sure the fridges in your canteen are well stocked with H2O, rather than its sugary rivals.
2) Enhance their nutrition
What we eat determines our energy levels throughout the day, and our ability to sleep soundly at night.
As the old saying goes: “you are what you eat”. So, you need to help students avoid the stodge that will leave them dozing all afternoon and choose nutritious, delicious food packed full of vitamins and fibre.
You’ll need the right cooking equipment in your canteen to rustle up mouth-watering meals each lunchtime. You could also think about swapping out the sweet treats in your vending machines for healthier options.
3) Maintain a comfy temperature
Warm, stuffy rooms will make kids dopey, while overly cold spaces will cause them to burn through their energy reserves faster.
A boiler optimiser can help keep the temperature of your school just-so, creating an ideal learning environment while shaving a sizeable slice off your heating bill.
And, remember, kids function better at a slightly cooler temperature than adults. Classrooms should be kept at around 18°C, whereas the optimum temperature for adults is a balmier 21°C.
4) Lighten things up
Classroom lighting can have a major effect on kids’ daily sleep/wake cycle, known as the circadian rhythm.
So, both the quality and colour of light in your classroom are super-important for keeping sleep-deprived students mentally present. Introducing LED lighting will give you more control over both of these elements.
Opt for long-lasting, energy-efficient lights that provide the degree of brightness needed in classrooms. Or, select one with a blue-ish hue (which is known to reduce sleepiness and aggression).
5) Pique their interest
The final option is to capture their attention by using some handy learning devices to meet them at their level.
There’s no easy answer when it comes to sleep-deprived students. But, with all these measures in place, you’ll seriously boost your chances of looking out over a sea of wide-eyed, attentive faces!
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