Sleep awareness week for schools

Issued: Mon, 08 Jun 2020 13:00:37 BST

Researchers at the University of Glasgow are running the first virtual ‘Sleep in Schools’ week.

In collaboration with the charity Sleep Scotland, pupils from two schools, Blairgowrie High School and Craigmount High School, have helped to develop a virtual sleep awareness week which will run for all their pupils from 8th to 12th June.

The programme of activities that has been co-produced with pupils and teachers includes:

  • Using Sleep Scotland’s ‘Sound Sleep’ resources including a sleep quiz, sleep habits and behaviours questionnaires, and checklist for sleepy teenagers within Personal & Social Education (PSE) lessons.
  • School-wide exercises for pupils reflecting on their sleep and activity levels and how these relate to mental wellbeing and then sharing these thoughts with their peers, parents and teachers.
  • ‘Meet the sleep scientist’ videos for pupils and teachers.
  • Sleep vlogs by nominated sleep champions in each school.

Disrupted sleep represents an important potential risk factor for mental ill-health in young people but this is an area that has not yet been properly investigated.

The SCRAMS project (Sleep, circadian rhythms and mental health in schools) builds on already well-established links with schools in Scotland through SHINE (the Schools Health and Wellbeing Improvement Research Network) to develop a UK-wide research collaboration focused on investigating sleep and mental health within schools.

Professor Daniel Smith, who leads the SCRAMS project in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said: “Adolescence is a key developmental stage for the onset of mental illness. It is also a time when getting enough sleep becomes a major challenge. We are delighted to be working with Sleep Scotland and the high schools to explore young people’s sleep habits and raise awareness of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep for mental wellbeing, especially at this unprecedented time of the Covid pandemic.

“We also plan to launch a survey to measure young people’s knowledge and perceptions about sleep and sleep research in a more conventional way to cross-validate data from the ‘Sleep in School’ week activities.”

The Sleep, circadian rhythms and mental health in schools (SCRAMS) project at The University of Glasgow has been awarded a £100k MRC/AHRC/ESRC Engagement Award. These Engagement Awards are for up to 12 months aimed at building and strengthening a cross-disciplinary community in the research area of Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind.