On Friday 14 March, 2014, On behalf of the ASA and SHF, sleep experts from around Australia and New Zealand will volunteer their time to go into approximately 35 schools and present educational messages of sleep health to children, adolescents, teachers and parents, in which over 3000 people are expected to attend.
It is well known amongst the sleep community that healthy sleep is essential for both cognitive and physical development in children. Unfortunately, this message is not as well understood in the general community. World Sleep Day provides a unique opportunity to promote sleep health at a targeted level. It is anticipated that this activity will generate much media interest allowing us to not only promote World Sleep Day, but also spread the message of Restful sleep, easy breathing, healthy body to the wider community.
-Dr. Sarah Biggs, PhD
Update on the activity after it took place:
Firstly, it was a huge success. As you will recall, we had volunteers from the sleep community go into schools and give a presentation to the children and teachers about sleep, the importance of it, and how to ensure they engage in healthy sleep practices. The children were also provided with a World Sleep Day bag (image that was printed on the bag is attached) that contained fact sheets about sleep and the link to the sleep app developed for MWorld.
We had 23 schools and over 6000 children involved across Australia and New Zealand. Many schools made a special day out of it by making World Sleep Day a pyjama party at school. All the students came dressed in their pyjama’s and all day they did activities relating to sleep. I have attached a picture of a bed the children made in one of the schools. They did all the artwork on the pillows and blanket, as well as the sign. Below is some of the feedback from our volunteers:
The Y5 and Y6 students just loved the presentation by their own teachers with your powerpoints and showbags. There was some information sent home via the school newsletter too. Thanks again for setting up this activity. It was just the best introduction to my new primary school this year, on several levels. I’m always on about sleep routines etc anyway and this just life sooo much easier.
It was an interesting experience doing the talks, they were pretty receptive to what we were trying to get across I think. I was quite surprised by the number of students to admitted to either worrying about their sleep or worrying about things causing them to sleep badly! I know we often think of teenagers and SDP but wonder about the prevalence of anxiety related sleep issues now too!
Hoping to get feedback from the schools re Fridays sessions – 10 in all !! I was shattered at the end of the day but the children really engaged . Get the impression from the teachers at one school that sleep or the lack of it is a real issue. When asked only about 50% of each class were in bed by the recommended time – an eye opener .
We also sent out a media release for the day and are still getting requests for interviews. On the actual day, we had over 65 media interviews for television, radio and print. We had two national channels cover WSD in the news with crews going out to one of the schools and interviewing our volunteer as well as parents & children. I also did a short segment on one of our popular breakfast programs. Radio interviews were non-stop throughout the day and most newspapers, both local and national covered it.