Elementary Students' Sleep Habits and Teacher Observations of Sleep-Related Problems



ABSTRACT: Sleep affects the health and well-being of children and plays a key role in preventing disease and injury, stability of mood, and ability to learn. Unfortunately, children often do not get adequate sleep on a regular basis. This study surveyed 199 fifth-grade students regarding their sleep habits using the Sleep Self-Report (SSR) instrument (child's form), the Morningness/Eveningness (M/E) Scale, and additional demographic questions. Students' teachers also were asked to evaluate their students' behavior using the Teacher's Daytime Sleepiness Questionnaire (TDSQ). Results indicated many students experienced problems with sleep-related behavior. However, correlating the TDSQ scale with the SSR Daytime Sleepiness Subscale produced a weak correlation coefficient, indicating teachers may not be able to accurately identify students with sleep problems. Overall findings indicated these students displayed sleep behavior similar to other US children. However, research involving children's sleep behavior is limited, and more research is needed. Parents should monitor their children's sleep times, and teachers need to be aware how sleep deprivation can affect children's mood, reaction time, and concentration. Health education curricula need to include sleep-related instruction at all grade levels to address this concern.