Scottish teenagers to receive sleep training in schools

Teenagers are to have lessons on how to sleep.

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Resources to teach teenagers how to get enough sleep are to be offered to schools across Scotland.

The teaching pack created by the charity Sleep Scotland is to be used as part of the curriculum for excellence.

It aims to raise awareness of the importance of sleep for young people's emotional and physical wellbeing.

The charity said watching television and using computers and mobile phones at night can prevent teenagers getting the nine hours of sleep they need.

Sleep Scotland, which also offers a sleep counselling service, said getting enough sleep can boost academic performance and physical health.

However, going without can be linked to obesity, pupils' failure to reach their potential height and a greater risk of depression.

Jet lag

A pilot scheme in secondary schools in Glasgow was launched by the charity last year as part of the development of the new resource pack for teachers.

Start Quote

Pupils find it very difficult to get up in the morning, pupils find it very difficult to concentrate”

End Quote Kate Pearce James Gillespie's High School teacher

Jane Ansell, director of Sleep Scotland, said: "I don't think any parent would think of sending out their child without enough food in the morning, or decent clothing, and they know how important reasonable exercise is, so why should you send your child out without enough sleep?"

The charity aims to educate young people about why they need a full night's sleep and how to develop good sleeping habits.

Kate Pearce, principal teacher of guidance, at James Gillespie's High School in Edinburgh, told BBC Scotland: "We see it especially at third year onwards.

"Pupils find it very difficult to get up in the morning, pupils find it very difficult to concentrate. Sleep is most definitely an issue."

Research cited by Sleep Scotland shows that sleep time for teenagers around the world has steadily decreased over the past 10 to 20 years.

A report by the charity said young people often believed they could make up for lack of sleep during the week by sleeping late at weekends.

However, by going to bed even later at weekends they were actually forcing a change in their body clocks - giving the same effect as jet lag when they return to a school routine on Monday mornings.

"In our own findings pupils report regularly staying up later by several hours on Friday and Saturday nights - sometimes by as much as four to six hours - virtually the equivalent of flying to New York each weekend," the report said.

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