School time and Sleep
Sleep is such a thing that if we do not get sufficient of it, it results into physical ailments whereas oversleeping causes laziness. This laziness leads to illness. Sleep time for children is the key characteristic in their life.
The child’s growth depends on the hours they sleep. The ones who sleep adequately grow physically and mentally well vise versa the ones who don’t sleep adequately become cranky.
The concentration power in a child depends on the amount of sleep he/she gets. If a child doesn’t get enough sleep then he gets drowsy, cranky, unfocused in the classroom, unable to grasp the concepts taught which leads them to be physically present but mentally absent resulting in poor academic scores.
Such children get involved in unwanted practices and they are often found outside the classroom rather than in the classroom thus leading to hyperactivity. There are many reasons for such behaviour but the viral one is insufficient sleep. It is a proven fact by neuroscience that sufficient sleep is required for a better brain development.’
What is sufficient sleep and how do we get it? Children between the age groups of 3-5 years (Nursery to Srkg) should sleep for approximately 11-12 hours a day likewise 6-10years (1st-5th) should sleep for 10-11 hours a day and 11-16 years (6th-10th) should sleep for 9 hours a day as it leads to better brain development and relaxation of mind and body. A relaxed mind will be able to grasp everything in a better way.
Now the most important question is: Do children really get enough sleep? If not, what are the adverse effects of the same? What can be the reasons for insufficient sleep? It is noticed that children in foreign countries do not get sufficient sleep. In research done by SAARC Institute for biological study and Washington University it was observed that the students in these countries get only 6-7 hours of sleep. Hence the schools in Washington that used to begin at 7:30 am now begin at 8:30 am which means an hour of extra sleeping time for the children.
The point here is whether beginning school an hour late is a solution to the problem. I personally feel that children in foreign countries sleep late as their screen time is equivalent to their sleep time as they play mobile games and watch television until late hours. The situation has turned out to be unruly as a result schools have been pressurized to begin later.
Television and mobile game addiction leads towards adverse changes in the development of the child’s brain. Thinking, meditation and gathering information happens in the classroom hence when a child’s screen time increases his body starts becoming inactive and the sharpness of their brain gets sluggish. This effects their thought process. The ones who cannot think cannot learn and the ones who cannot learn remain academically backward.
India has gradually adapted the same lifestyle. Addiction towards television and mobile phones is on the rise thus resulting in children sleeping at late hours. Since schools in India begin at 7 am children need to wake up early in order to leave their homes and be on time for school which leads them to a sleep time of approximately 6-7 hours a day.
This is definitely a serious concern with the English Medium School specially in the metro cities. Even today the children in the urban cities sleep early in order to wake up early. The only solution to this problem is to reduce screen time. Children should be encouraged to play outdoor games as it will help them to inculcate early sleeping habits. The schools that have a preprimary section should commence by 9 am hence the students will get complete and proper rest.
Changing the school timing is definitely not the solution. Parents need to play a vital role by putting their kids to bed by 9 pm. Finland is a country which is considered to impart better education as all schools commence by 9 am and parents themselves inculcate early sleeping habits for their children. Thus these children are more focused with better grasping power, good memorizing skills and have a better growth as compared to children in other countries.
If schools in India also follow the same lifestyle then the students will grow to be healthy and prosperous citizens.
Tip: The students who belong to Adivasi and ZP schools have a habit of sleeping early and so they get sufficient sleep resulting in being vibrant to reach school by 8 am. These schools actually begin at 11 am as the teachers have to travel long distances.
-Education Activist -Sachin Usha Vilas Joshi