Last Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The importance of rest and sleep – second level

What is this?

This learning activity supports children to think about the importance of rest and how to improve the quality of sleep. It is intended to support teachers and practitioners to plan learning experiences for children/young people in their usual setting or while they are learning at home. As well as taking account of national and local guidance relating to Covid-19, the activity should be used or adapted accordingly to consider the range of learners and their prior knowledge and individual circumstances in relation to this learning experience.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Second level

  • I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health. HWB 2-15a
  • I can explain why I need to be active on a daily basis to maintain good health and try to achieve a good balance of sleep, rest and physical activity. HWB 2-27a

Purpose of the activity

Children will learn about the importance of rest and sleep and will think about things which can help the quality of people’s sleep.

Learning activity

  • Introduce the activity by inviting children to think about how much sleep is needed by the average:
    • baby
    • toddler
    • primary school child
    • teenager
    • adult
  • You can refer to this Sleep Scotland table of different sleep needs to discuss with children the varying requirements for sleep at different ages. Why do they think this is? For example, why does a baby need so much sleep?
  • Help children to understand the reasons why we need to rest and sleep. This includes:
    • helping our bodies to grow and repair. This is why babies who are growing a lot need a lot of sleep and why we sleep a lot if we are unwell.
    • helping our brain to store and sort memories so that we can remember things that we have learned while we have been awake.
    • helping our bodies to rest and recover from the activities we have taken part in when we have been awake.
  • If it would help children’s understanding, they could watch this Why Do We Sleep? video. You could ask children to make notes about the video and use this to discuss the reasons why sleep is important with someone else.
  • Ask children how they feel when they do not get enough sleep. This might include:
    • feeling more bad tempered with other people
    • not being able to concentrate on things
    • not having enough energy to play or be active.
  • Next, invite children to think about why some people find it hard to get to sleep when they go to bed. This may be because they are not feeling tired, or they are thinking about something or feeling worried. It may also be because they are over-stimulated or excited from playing a game on a hand-held device. Invite children to share personal experiences of when they or someone they know has found it difficult to get to sleep.
  • Now ask children to devise some hints and tips to help people to get a good night’s sleep. They can research ideas by speaking to an adult, reading books or magazine articles or looking online. Ask children to present their hints and tips for healthy sleeping in a way of their choosing. For example, they could:
    • write an article about healthy sleep for a magazine
    • draw a picture or poster with their hints and tips
    • prepare a presentation about healthy sleep for their classmates
    • talk to other people about their hints and tips for healthy sleep.
  • To support children’s learning and if you are aware of any individuals who have difficulties sleeping, you may want to make parents aware of the Sleep Scotland website.

Extension activity

Ask children to research different relaxation techniques that could help people to get a good night’s sleep. They could then demonstrate these to others and explain why this could help them to get better sleep. 

National benchmarks

  • Explains the interrelationship of daily physical activity, diet, rest and sleep on health and wellbeing.

Possible approach to assessing learning

In this activity, you might want to consider the following suggestions:

  • Ask children to talk about why rest and sleep are important for health and wellbeing at different stages in our life.
  • Ask children to write about hints and tips for healthy sleep.
  • Ask children to make a poster about the importance of sleep.

When planning your approach to assessing learning, please take account of the latest guidance on assessment approaches.

Resource subject Health and wellbeing
Resource type Learning activity
Resource format Webpage