Health campaigners: 'Children should learn the art of a good night's sleep'
National Curriculum should include subject to boost learning, say experts
Children should be taught about the importance of a good night's sleep as part of the national curriculum, health campaigners say.
Sleep experts say it is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise in ensuring children get the best out of their schooling. They add that children would be less likely to nod off during lessons.
Lack of sleep, they argue, can lead to an inability to concentrate in lessons – and, of course, falling asleep in the classroom instead of in bed at home. It can also make children irritable, causing behavioural problems.
A survey of more than 2,000 parents by the Sleep Council published today reveals that nearly half did not realise that their children needed 12 hours' sleep a night at the age of three. And fewer than four out of 10 were aware that teenagers need between eight and nine hours' sleep a night.
As a result of the survey, a petition has been launched on the Downing Street website calling for sleep education to become part of the national curriculum.
Chris Idzikowski, of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: "Our education system must take this subject on board in a serious and structured way.
"We teach children about nutrition and ensure regular exercise is part of their weekly activities but the third critical ingredient of a healthy lifestyle – sleep – is barely touched upon."
The survey showed two-thirds of parents (67 per cent) admitted to worrying about the amount or quantity of sleep their children got and 96 per cent agreed lack of sleep or poor quality sleep is damaging to the health and wellbeing of children.
It also showed that 80 per cent of parents interviewed recognised how important sleep was for a child to do well at school.
Regular bedtimes followed by a comfortable bed were said to be the most important factors in getting a good night's sleep. Other factors were a dark room, no gadgets, exercise and a nutritious diet.
Nick Stanley, an independent sleep consultant, said: "Sleep is a basic and fundamental human requirement and is vitally important for good physical, mental and emotional health.
"It's crucial for memory, learning and growth which means it is necessary for children to get enough sleep."
The Sleep Council points out there is no mention of the word "sleep" in national curriculum guidelines while there are several mentions of the necessity to ensure a healthy diet and that children should take exercise.
Jessica Alexander, its spokeswoman, said: "The lack of education about sleep and the factors critical to achieving the necessary quantity and quality must be addressed in schools as well as home if today's children are to take the subject seriously."
Taking the subject seriously and instilling healthy sleeping habits into children could help a school improve its exam and test score results.
Meanwhile new research out today from the Independent Schools Council shows the average cost of state education is more than £8,000 a year – rather than the £6,000 figure cited by the Departmental for Children, Schools and Families. The ISC argues the increased cost underlines the importance of its sector in saving the state the cost of educating its pupils.
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...