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Evelina London experts design school sleep lessons

Sleep experts from Evelina London Children’s Hospital have helped to design lesson plans for schools to tackle sleep problems among young people.

NHS data shows that there has been a significant rise in the number of hospital admissions among under-16s with sleep problems in the last six years.

A recent study published in the BMJ found that lack of sleep has a greater impact on an adolescent’s mental wellbeing than bullying, physical activity and screen time.

The new resources have been developed jointly by the department of children’s sleep medicine at Evelina London and the PSHE Association, a membership body for PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) education teachers. The teaching materials include strategies for getting to sleep and information on how sleep needs change in adolescence.

Dr Charlie Tyack, clinical psychologist at the department of children’s sleep medicine at Evelina London said: “Good quality sleep is a key foundation for emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as educational performance. Everyone’s sleep requirements differ, so a one-size-fits-all approach to sleep tends not to work for everyone.

“Thankfully, there is greater awareness of sleep issues in children and young people, which is partially why we are seeing a rise in hospital admissions for sleep problems in this age group.

“These PSHE lessons reinforce the importance of sleep and help young people to think realistically about how to give themselves the best chances of getting the sleep they need to reach their full potential.”

Jenny Fox, subject specialist at the PSHE Association, said: “These lessons equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills and strategies they need to take increasing responsibility for the quality of their sleep. Pupils are encouraged to explore the myths related to getting good sleep, offer advice to others about improving evening routines and understand the many benefits of improving the quality of their sleep. The lessons are designed to be taught as part of a planned PSHE curriculum which promotes health and wellbeing.”

The lessons plans are available to PSHE teachers to use within the health and wellbeing theme of their PSHE curricula for pupils aged 7 to 16.

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