Heathdale flower 12th October 2023

The Effects of Sleeping on Learning

Discover the secrets to better learning, mood management, and impulse control as we delve into the importance of quality sleep for our teen-aged students.

Heathdale flower

This week our Year 10 & 11 students engaged in a Wellbeing Assembly designed to put them to sleep… or rather to help them discover the value of sleep.

Research shows that optimal learning is impacted by the quantity and quality of sleep. Sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on a student’s readiness to learn and their ability to manage social situations in the classroom and the school yard. Lack of sleep reduces the brain’s ability to process new information and leads to difficulties in regulating emotions. A lack of sleep affects the development of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is involved in impulse control and assessment of risk.

Some of us live with teen-aged night owls and others of us wonder if our teens are hibernating till the summer. So how much sleep is enough? The Australian Department of Health recommend that adolescents aged 14-17 should get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Research suggests most Australian teenagers are only getting 6-7 hours of sleep per night – meaning many young people are facing a deficit of 1-2 hours of sleep a night.

For some of our teens, the lure of technology, instant messaging and devices in their bedrooms may lead to chronic sleep deprivation. Teenagers may then resort to caffeine or energy drinks in the daytime to try to boost their alertness, leading to an ongoing cycle of late nights and drowsy school mornings.

If teenagers have sleep problems, they need to be involved in finding solutions for their own sleep issues. If you have noticed a poor pattern of sleep for your child, seek their input about what makes it hard for them to get to sleep or what keeps them awake. Encourage them to put boundaries in place to protect their sleep and ask what you can do to help with scheduling or reminders.

Learning the ‘why’ of shutting down devices, relaxing and resting, encourages students to develop the sleep habits they need for learning and performing at their best. A little more snooze is good medicine for all of us!