Sleep Slide-Rule improves children's understanding of the importance of sleep

WESTCHESTER, Ill. -- Over the past decade, children have been going to bed later and sleeping less. This can be attributed, in part, to a lack of awareness in the community concerning sleep need in children and how the amount of sleep a child should get each night is dependent on ones age. The Sleep-Side Rule is found to be an effective classroom tool that improves childrens understanding of the relationship between age and sleep need, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, conducted by Kurt Lushington, PhD, of the University of South Australia, was based on a demonstration Sleep Slide-Rule unit manufactured for use in the classroom. It consisted of a top bar to indicate bedtime, a movable center rule with a key to indicate sleep need for the age bands three-to-five years, five-to-12 years, and 12-18 years, and a bottom bar displaying the appropriate wake-up time range according to age. The aid was used as part of a lesson plan on sleep in a group of nine-to-11-year-olds.

Responses from teachers and children indicated that the Sleep Slide-Rule concept was instructive and functional. Examples of responses include the following:

  • "You need between 10-11 hours of sleep."
  • "You need to change your bedtime if you are getting up early."
  • "We now know what school night means."
  • "I need a lot more sleep than I normally get."
  • "I didnt know you needed so much sleep."
  • "You dont need as much sleep when you are older."
  • "Bedtime and going to sleep time are different."
  • "Sleep is really important to you as a human being."

Dr. Lushington points out that better sleep not only equals better learning, but also better health.

"Children sleep less than they did 20 years ago and substantially less than 50 years ago. We know sleep is i

Contact: Jim Arcuri
American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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