There are many factors that prepare our body to go to sleep and wake up. Our body has a biological clock (rhythm every 24 hours) which controls our sleeping and waking pattern. It indicates importance of sleep for students. This biological clock is in tandem with certain factors in the environment like light and darkness.
When light signals are received through eyes, it informs certain areas of the brain that it is daytime and this, in turn, align our body clock with periods of day and night. But exposure to bright artificial lights upsets this rhythm. Sources of bright lights are from TV and computer screen, tube lights and bulbs, etc.
Newborns sleep more, sometimes up to 16 hours a day, but preschool and primary school going children sleep comparatively less. Youngsters tend to sleep more in the early evening, whereas teens tend to sleep more in the morning.
This takes us to the topic why sleep is important.
Sleep plays an important role in good health and well being in our life. Getting good quality sleep and at the right time helps to protect mental and physical health, improves quality of life and helps us stay cheerful. In children and teenagers, it supports healthy brain functions and helps support growth and development. It affects how well you think, work/study, learn, react etc.
1. Effects of sleep on brain and emotions
Sleep is the food and rest for the brain. It helps the brain work properly. When one is asleep brain prepares for the next day. New pathways are developed which help to learn and remember information.
Sound sleep improves learning. Be it solving mathematics, or playing any musical instrument or perfecting your batting skills at the cricket ground. Sleep enhances learning and problem-solving skills helps in paying attention, making decisions and being creative.
Sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain, which results in having trouble in decision making, controlling emotions and behavior, solving problems and non-adjusting to new surrounding changes, feeling of anger and impulsive behavior, mood swings, feeling sad and depressed, lack of motivation to take on new things.
2. Physical health
Schooling age is also physical growing age of students. Growth and development of body and mind are maximum during this age. Good and sound sleep involves repair and healing of heart, blood vessels, brain, and muscles. Heart supplies blood to different parts of the body, including the brain.
During sleep, the brain gets a good supply of blood by which gets nourished. This increases grasping power and concentration among students. Muscles also get toned up after full day’s fatigue. Immune systems which help us to defend our body against harmful substance also rely on sleep to stay healthy.
3. Student’s performance
Students who are sleep deficient are less productive in school. They take a longer time to finish their tasks, make more mistakes and have slower reaction time. This is evident during exam time that students make silly mistakes and lose marks.
It is seen that because of lack of sleep they develop micro sleep. Micro sleep is the brief moments of sleep when students are normally awake. It is not possible to control micro-sleep and one may not be aware of it too.
It sometimes happens that students are awake in class, but because of micro sleep, they are unable to follow what is going on through the lecture. They miss a lot of information of what is taught in class and are unable to understand the points.
4. Time duration of sleep
Time duration depends on age. Infants need the maximum of sleep time. As one age time duration decreases. On the whole, it is estimated that one should sleep for 7 to 8 hours per day.
If one regularly loses sleep, the sleep loss adds up. Some people take naps. But it provides short-term solutions. It does not provide all the benefits of a nighttime sleep.
One should sleep when his body is “ready to sleep”. If feeling sleepy one should not stretch it by keeping awake forcefully.
Not getting enough and sufficient can limit student’s ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. During teenage, they are more prone to pimples and get easily infected by common cold and cough from their friends.
We here discussed importance of sleep for students. They start behaving aggressively and develop improper behavior like yelling, being impatient with friends, teachers, and parents. It indicates importance of sleep for students. They start eating too much unhealthy food and become overweight.
A consistent sleep pattern/schedule will help biological clock to be in sync with natural pattern of day and night time.