Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Sleep on it : sleep and obesity


A recent longitudinal study in New Zealand showed that people who had shorter sleep duration during childhood were more likely to be obese and have a higher body mass index that those who slept longer hours. The author's own research shows that chronic low-quality and low-duration sleep is associated with a range of physical and psychosocial disturbances in both adults and children including impaired attention, memory, creativity, learning and academic performance; motor-skill deficits; greater emotional liability, increased impulsivity, aggression and hyperactivity; and increased potential for alcohol and drug abuse in adulthood. Teachers have first-hand experience of the effects of poor sleep on students within their care. it is worth auditing students by using something like the sleep hygiene and sleep health questionnaire. If teachers can understand what constitutes poor sleep and how it adversely affects the health, weight status and academic achievement of students, they are in a better position to optimise the learning capacity of their students. [Author abstract, ed]

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