by Megan Bittner

World Sleep Day, an annual celebration of sleep and call to action on sleep-related issues, is March 16 this year. But it may be hard to “celebrate” sleep when it feels like we never get enough. Browse this week’s Homeschool Classroom for some great ways to teach the health benefits of sleep to your kids, encourage healthy sleep habits, and assess and plan for your family’s sleep needs; calming activities for adults and children alike; and some favorite bedtime readings to share with your family.

 

Your Health and Sleep

This infographic at Health and Natural World.com will help you explain the dangers of sleep deprivation.

The Sleep for Kids website has materials that teach students the importance of giving their bodies rest through sleep. The information included is broken down into the subsections: why we sleep, how sleep works, sleep and you, can’t sleep?, dreams, bring out the stars, as well as games and puzzles.

This page from Kids Discover may also be helpful in teaching your children about sleep.

 

Restful Sleep

How is melatonin produced in a 24-hour sleep cycle? This article explains the chemicals the body releases to aid sleep in a 24 hour cycle and how those chemicals affect our ability to sleep well and wake feeling refreshed.

The ideas in this article from The Inspired Treehouse may help your insomniac have a more restful sleep.

There is no debate about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation. This article lists the many ways sleep deprivation is damaging to your cognitive function, the regions of the brain affected by sleep deprivation, how light pollution affects your sleep pattern, the risks associated with sleep deprivation, as well as a section on how sleep deprivation may lead to dementia. Also listed are suggestions to improving sleep quality.

Kathi Lipp–a favorite speaker at the annual HEAV Convention!–shares her thoughts on “mind clutter” and the detrimental effect overworked, stressed brains have on our sleep.

In this podcast, Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, share their best tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

This post about homeschooling and sleep deprivation from 7 Sisters Homeschool offers some hard facts and helpful techniques for sleep hygiene.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests using one of these relaxation techniques for help falling asleep.

This excellent article from Mother’s Circle provides helpful information about your teen’s sleep needs and tips for helping build–and sometimes enforce–healthy nighttime routines.

Despite the mass of research touting the benefits of device-free sleep, about 72% of children ages 6 to 17 sleep with an electronic device in their room. This article from The Atlantic provides some excellent reasons for removing the electronic devices from bedrooms–yours and your kids’.

Try these tips for device-free sleep from The Sleep Foundation.

Some of the most difficult hands to wrangle cell phone’s out of may be your teen’s! Try designating a space in a common area of your home as a cell phone/device charging station and implement a rule that requires all devices be put up for the night. Set a “bedtime” for your family’s electronic devices and spend the last hour or two of the evening device free.

A fun way to help involve the kids in this rule could be to construct a charging/docking station together, using simple ideas like these from Driven By Decor and One Good Thing.

 

Adequate Sleep

This article from Sonlight highlights the unique opportunity homeschoolers have to meet their children’s need for adequate and restorative sleep.

You have to know what you need before you can plan for it. Try these helpful tips to assess your own sleep needs and those of your family members.

Keeping a sleep log can also be an excellent way for children and adults to discover which of their behaviors contribute to healthy sleep and which can be improved.

These 15 better sleep tips from The Better Sleep Council can help you squeeze in the sleep you need.

You’ve probably heard that it is impossible to recover hours of lost sleep. While you can’t power through 20 hours of sleep to make up for a week of 4-hour nights, there are ways you can help balance your sleep debt. Check out these articles from Harvard Health Publishing and Scientific American for tips on repaying your sleep debt and catching up on lost sleep.

Some interruptions in sleep schedules are inevitable. Whether illness, vacation, holidays, or life changes have thrown you off-course, these resources from Baby Sleep Science and The Sleep Store can help you and your kids get back on track.

This list of 42 foods that encourage sleep may help you choose your bedtime snack.

 

Calming Activities

This paper plate craft from Raising Little Superheroes pairs with Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, and is a great way to discuss the importance of sleep with your preschoolers.

While these sleep masks are fun and easy to make, they are also practical tools that can be used by anyone to help achieve restful sleep.

This cute and simple sensory bottle is a perfect craft to pair with Margaret Wise’s Goodnight Moon.

This sleep quilt craft from Toddler Approved doubles as a puppet to use in a reading of Anna Dewdney’s Llama, Llama, Red Pajama.

Try any of these calming activities for kids from The Imagination Tree, including lavender playdough, a calming rain stick, beading activities, and sensory salt.

Inc.’s list of 9 things to do before bed can be the building blocks of a healthy bedtime routine that works for your family.

 

Favorite Bedtime Readings

Bedtime reading is one of the best restful activities to make a part of your evening routine.

Browse the list below for a new favorite bedtime story, and check out this Homeschool Classroom for more great reading ideas and book suggestions.

The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

The Goodnight Train by June Sobel

Sleepyheads by Sandra J. Howett

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks

If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul

Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Red and Yellow’s Noisy Night by Josh Selig

Just Go to Bed by Mercer Mayer

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Erik Carle

Lullaby Moon by Rosie Reeve

When I First Held You by Mirik Snir

Lullabies and music are another great addition to your evening routine, and they don’t have to stop just because the kids get older. A lovely way to incorporate some family time and sibling bonding is to allow older children to participate in the younger siblings bedtime rituals by reading or singing together.

Lullabies: An Illustrated Songbook

The Book of Lullabies by John M. Feierabend

A final thought: we will be turning our clocks forward at the beginning of Daylight Saving Time on March 11. Check out this article for some information on the effects it will have on your sleep and for some tips to help you and the kids cope with the Daylight Saving Time change. And then go enjoy the extra sunshine!

 

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