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·Lesson 1: Get some sleep!

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Lesson plan: Get some sleep!

October 5, 2000
Web posted at: 1:07 PM EDT (1707 GMT)

Editor's note: If you are planning to use the news story that this discussion-activity is based on for a homework assignment, please write the URL on the board and have your students copy it. updates the site in the early evening, so students may have difficulty finding it without the URL. You can find the lesson plan by going to the Subject Areas page and clicking PREVIOUS in the square for Today's Lesson Plan.


Students will be able to:

  • Explain why they need eight hours of sleep per day.
  • Determine cultural, social, and media influences that prevent them from getting adequate sleep.
  • Analyze their current waking and sleeping patterns, and create a healthier schedule.


National Health Education Standards:

Students will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and reduce health risks.
  • Analyze the influence of culture, media, technology, and other factors on health.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting and decision making skills to enhance health.

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Materials article,"Sleep experts to teens: Please, get your zzz's"
Materials to create graphs
Health research resources

Suggested time

One class period


1. Begin with a general discussion about sleep and health. You may ask the following questions:

  • How many of you feel tired today? Why? How many hours of sleep did you get last night? Do you think it was enough? If not, what kept you up too late?

2. Assign the article, "Sleep experts to teens: Please, get your zzz's". After students have read the story, ask them the following questions:

  • How much sleep does Naomi Freeman get per night? Why? Is it enough? According to the National Sleep Foundation, how much sleep does an average teen need? How does your sleep schedule compare to Naomi's?
  • Besides lack of sufficient sleep, what is another common problem with the actual times that most teens are needing to get up in the morning? What are some common effects on teens that are caused by sleep deprivation? Do you experience these problems? Explain.

3. Direct students to create a chart of their sleep time and daily activities on a typical school day. They can do this in the form of a day timer, clock pie chart, or some other graphic. After they complete their charts, ask them to pair with another student and compare charts. Tell students to make suggestions to their partners on ways in which they might be able to get more sleep. Then bring students back together for a general discussion on their findings. Talk also about the ways in which culture, media, and social expectations influence their waking activities.


World cultures: Students from other countries can describe a typical day in their native country and compare the waking/sleeping patterns they had previously to those they currently experience. Have the class discuss the similarities and differences to recognize influences that affect these patterns.


Ask students to analyze their charts and make at least one change in order to get at least eight hours of sleep per night. Challenge them to practice the new schedule for at least a week and report back on how they feel after the increase in sleep.


Students can go to the Internet or other resources to learn more about the scientific reasons that they need at least eight hours of sleep. Ask them to write explanatory essays that explain what occurs in the body during sleep that is essential for health. Encourage them to include any graphs or illustrations that help to clarify their essays. Also encourage them to go to the Sleep Research Society Web site (listed below) to consider entering their essays in their 2001 essay contest.

National Sleep Foundation Home Page
NIH - National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
Sleep Research Society Home Page

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