It has become increasingly common for teenage students to fall asleep in classrooms nowadays. According to several surveys conducted during the pandemic, 65% of students fall asleep during online classes, indicating that online classes could have been more successful. Another study revealed that an average Indian student spends 4 to 10 hours per day in school throughout the academic year, leaving them with little time to spend at home and often depriving them of proper sleep.
Let’s delve into the reasons why students lack proper sleep and explore remedies to tackle this problem.
Why do students fall asleep in the classroom?
Several factors can contribute to falling asleep in the classroom. Every human has an internal body clock that regulates our sleep and wake cycles according to our body’s needs, known as the circadian rhythm. Additionally, adenosine, a compound that plays a vital role in sleepiness, rises when we are awake, increasing until we sleep. As adenosine levels rise, we feel increasingly sleepy. Conversely, adenosine levels decrease as we sleep, resulting in less sleepiness. When students don’t get enough sleep, they accumulate sleep debt and have higher levels of adenosine, leading to falling asleep in the classroom.
Also Read: 5 Mental Health Tips For School Leaders
Importance of getting enough sleep
Just like a computer CPU, our brain shows signs of exertion, such as tiredness, sleepiness, and a lack of enjoyment in daily activities. The human body needs sleep for several reasons, including:
- Repairing body tissues
- Growing muscles and bones
- Synthesizing body hormones
- Rejuvenating and restoring the body’s functions
The brain needs proper sleep to process the information collected throughout the day. An irregular sleep cycle can create digestion and headache problems.
Ways to ensure students do not fall asleep in the classroom
1. Following a sleep routine:
Students should have a proper sleep routine in their homes. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure their children sleep on time. An irregular sleep routine can cause students to fall asleep in the classroom, making them less focused during classroom teachings and less likely to participate in activities. Teachers should discuss the sleep schedules of their students who appear dull, lazy, and disinterested in the classroom with their parents. Parents must develop a sleep routine for their children to ensure their overall development.
2. Drinking water:
One of the primary reasons students tend to fall asleep is dehydration. Students who drink less water during the day are more likely to fall asleep in the classroom than those who drink water at regular intervals. A hydrated body performs mental tasks more effectively, such as focusing in the classroom and solving problems. Students should drink water every 15 to 20 minutes during school hours.
3. Eating for energy:
The human body needs energy to perform daily tasks. Adolescent students who are still growing physically and mentally require a lot of energy to keep up with their needs. Therefore, students must have breakfast in the morning regularly. Breakfast boosts the body during the morning and makes students feel more energetic. Our body also needs energy replenishment after proper sleep, which is fulfilled by breakfast. Additionally, it is vital for students to have healthy lunches and snacks during the school day. Healthy food is essential for the growth of students.
Adolescents are prone to both obesity and malnutrition. Students who only eat without any physical activity are at risk of developing obesity, while those who don’t usually exercise can have a poor metabolism. An improper metabolism hinders students’ growth and can lead to eating disorders in kids. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym; including regular activities in the school routine, such as yoga and stretching, is enough to ensure the daily required exercise quota
5. Taking short breaks:
Continuous classes can make students more prone to falling asleep in the classroom. Therefore, teachers should give short breaks during long lectures and classes. Japan is the best example of allowing employees to nap during office hours. Studies have shown that small breaks during long sessions can refill and energize the brain, allowing students to refocus in classes for an extended period. Additionally, short breaks give the brain time to digest what was taught a few hours ago and create more space for critical information.
6. Engaging in activities:
Many countries have adopted activity-based learning in their education system because students’ attention is much greater in activity-based learning. Students perform better in such a learning system. Teachers who implement activities in their lesson plans experience more attentive students compared to those who do not implement any activity. Moreover, it reduces the risk of falling asleep in the classroom due to less attention during class teaching. Activities are an excellent method to grab students’ attention in the classroom. Therefore, in modern education, activity-based learning is a must.
Adolescent students are half-baked learners who are in a phase where they are experiencing several things at a time. They need a lot of energy, rest, and guidance during this adolescent phase to prepare for the outer world outside of home and school. All the things mentioned above are crucial for the overall growth of students in school, and during this phase, parents and teachers must ensure that students follow them.