Do We Get Enough Sleep?

This is a lesson plan on sleeping habits and how we sleep.

I have found many middle school and high school students love to talk about sleeping. It seemed like one of their favourite subjects to talk about. Maybe due to their workload and all the homework they had to do along with tests and so on.

But I found that this lesson plan always created a lot of discussion in the class. 

This lesson comes with a short article on reading followed by a table of essential vocabulary and then some conversation questions.

I hope it goes down well in your class. This is ideal for any General English or ESL class. It can also be used in an IELTS class.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 


 

Introduction

 

How many hours do you sleep every night?

Is it enough? How many hours do you need every night?

How do you feel if you only sleep six hours in one night? How about four hours?

 

Reading

 

The average person needs eight hours of sleep per night. This is common knowledge for most people.

But does everyone get those required eight hours regularly?

The truth is, we don’t. Do you get enough sleep every night?

This could explain why you feel irritable or listless in the early afternoon. Or why you have trouble concentrating on your work or study for more than three hours at a time.

Why is this happening?

One of the main culprits is the smartphone. We have become so attached to it we find it difficult to know when to stop scrolling through our Facebook feed or Instagram updates.

So we stare at the screen until it’s late. And then, when it gets so late we can’t keep our eyes open, we put the phone down and try to sleep. But the bright light from the screen has now had a serious effect on our brains. Now we cannot sleep.

When people experience this kind of insomnia, they turn to meds to try to help them. Or they might drink alcohol. Now you are making your health even worse. You cannot sleep due to staring at screens plus you are relying on sleeping pills or wine to force yourself to sleep.

It becomes a vicious circle.

So what’s the answer?

Doctors are unanimous in their verdict.

You must avoid looking at screens for at least one hour before you go to bed. That means that if you want to be in bed by ten o’clock, stop looking at any kind of screen by nine.

No smartphone, no laptops, no TV.

What can we do in that last hour then?

Plenty!

Try reading a book for a change. You never know you might like it. It could become a habit. And a great habit too.

Doctors also suggest avoiding any drinks with caffeine inside. This means no coffee, no strong tea.

We should also avoid certain kinds of food like sugar or cheese.

Doctors also suggest that a regular exercise routine can really help us get into a good sleeping cycle. Maybe an early morning run in the park is just what you need.

Surely that is a much better life than arriving at work feeling drained. And the day has only just begun.

A lack of sleep can cause long-term health issues like depression and back problems.

Put the phone down, refuse that third cup of coffee and read a book before bedtime. It will make you feel like a new person.

 

Essential Vocabulary

 

common knowledge

irritable

listless

concentrating

culprits

attached

scrolling

feed

updates

stare

insomnia

meds

alcohol

sleeping pills

vicious circle

unanimous

verdict

caffeine

drained

depression

bedtime

Exercise

Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebook—a small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when studying.

“I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”

 

Questions

 

  1. Do you sleep well at night? If you don’t sleep well, what do you think the problem could be?
  1. How many hours of sleep do you need every night?
  1. Do you sleep more at the weekend or when you have a free day?
  1. What time did you go to bed last night? Be honest! Why did you go to bed at this time?
  1. Are you a night owl? Why do you have this lifestyle?
  1. Are you an early bird? Why do you have this lifestyle?
  1. Look around the room — out of all the night owls and early birds, which group looks the healthiest?
  1. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night? Why?
  1. Do you have naps in the middle of the day? Do you think this is healthy?
  1. Do you ever have vivid dreams in the night that make you wake up feeling agitated or exhausted?
  2. What do you know about biphasic sleep or polyphasic sleep methods? Look these terms up and talk about the advantages/disadvantages.
  3. Does modern life affect our sleeping patterns?

 

Teachers Notes

 

If you are teaching a group of teenagers then the subject of sleep might be very popular. They often complain of being too tired from constantly studying.

Working adults may also feel they don’t get enough sleep.


How was it? Was this useful in your class?

Let me know in the comments below!


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2 thoughts on “Do We Get Enough Sleep?”

  1. Looking at a screen before sleep is a common habit we may all be guilty of but it is good to be reminded not to do it. Instead I like to read before going to sleep. Sleep can’t fail to be an interesting topic since we spend so much of our lives sleeping. The mystery to our need for sleep and what happens during sleep and even the positions we sleep in are fascinating.

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