Sleep Instruction for Kids in the UK

You may have read before on about how doctors and researchers are finding that kids and teenagers need more sleep than previously thought.  In fact, as was mentioned in a story here last month, some schools are beginning their days later to accommodate that.  A school in the UK, however, is trying a different strategy, by teaching kids the importance of sleep, in the hope that they’ll sleep better.  The effort was profiled in a story this week in the Yorkshire Post:

In what’s thought to be a unique project, Glasgow City Council has called in a sleep counsellor to run a pilot scheme, working at four secondary schools in the city to give instructions on how to wind down, relax and drop off. The lessons are run by the charity Sleep Scotland, whose director Jane Ansell is calling on the Scottish government to fund the training of more sleep counsellors and the growing problem of youngsters who are not functioning at school through lack of proper rest.

“Children need sleep to reach their full potential,” she says. “You wouldn’t send someone to school without having the right amount of food, so why would you send them without enough sleep?” While some young people might take a macho attitude the fact that they somehow survive on a few short hours’ sleep, they are actually damaging their health, their learning potential and their future prospects.

Children who have not slept well don’t learn well, and don’t retail what they do manage to learn.  Any effort that could result in healthier and more alert kids is a worthwhile one.