Should School Times Start Later?

The Industrial revolution changed not only when we work (earlier start, longer shifts) but also when we are required to wake up.

Human beings are programmed to follow the sun to bed and wake as the sky lightens. However, for most families, industrialization has meant waking long before sunrise to commute to work.

This shift threw our kids sleep under the bus too. Parents had to get to work earlier, so kids had to get to school earlier too. School used to begin around 9am but has started to shift earlier and earlier over the last 100 years.

Waking up earlier has led to many children and their parents not getting the sleep they require. It is a common phenomenon for young children to be woken between 4am and 5am in order for the family to be where they need to be by 7.30am.

In South Africa, this sleep crisis is felt more severely due to:

  • Our unreliable public transport system
  • The large distances between where we live and where we work
  • Our closest, local schools may not provide optimal education for our children
  • The high rates of unemployment leave many employees fearing that they could lose their job if they ask for a later start time to drop their children off at school

These are real logistical issues, but the question must be asked: Should school start times be set to fit around parents schedules or what the child needs to learn?

Our goal as a society should be to get kids to school ready to learn, not sleep deprived.

What time does your child start school and would you prefer them to start later?

We would love to hear from you.


The Difference in your Sleep… Discover the new la différence bed by Sealy

Back to school, back to sleep – How to get your kids back into their routine

You may have completed your back to school shopping, but have you gotten your kids back into their routine?

Sleeping well is essential for school performance. Alas, the extra-long school holidays have seen our kids going to bed long after sunset and lying in later than usual.

Children need sleep in order to listen, sit still, concentrate, remember, problem-solve and play nicely. So going to sleep and going to school go hand-in-hand.

The good news is that there is still enough time to get your kids back into routine before school starts.

Follow these 4 steps to make the transition:

  1. Ensure their days are full of physical activity so that they are tired by sunset.
  2. Set an alarm for one hour before your child’s desired bedtime to signal the end of screen time and the start of a bedtime routine.
  3. Re-introduce your family’s bedtime routine within this hour – your child should get through your combination of supper, bathing, brushing their teeth and having their bedtime story within this time.
  4. Set an alarm for the desired wake-up time that you will need on school days – it is important to maintain this even on weekends as brains work best during predictible sleep-wake cycles.

By repeating these steps over the next few days, you are helping to prepare your child’s brain for sleep as well as for school.

Here’s to an easy re-entry into the real world.

Sleep better in your new Sealy!

Can better sleep mean better grades?

Poor sleep can negatively impact your child’s grades, emotions and overall behaviour. This means you might need to introduce an earlier bed time. Or let your child sleep in. Or invest in a new mattress.

While very little research has looked at the link between sleep and intelligence in children. It is clear that sleep deprivation eats our brains (yes, really!) and that sleep is an important contributor to developing long-term memory, but can better sleep mean better grades?

FACT 1: An intelligent child who is sleep-deprived will get poorer grades

It appears that we all inherit 40-50% of our intelligence. We could call this our baseline intelligence. Certain behaviours will help us maintain or develop this intelligence (like eating nutritious food and getting good sleep), whilst other behaviours will erode this intelligence (not eating well or not getting enough sleep).

If your child is not getting enough sleep, it would impact their visual visual intelligence and problem-solving abilities (think maths, science and design). For more read: The Sleep EEG as a marker of intellectual ability in school-age children.

FACT 2: A child with lower intelligence cannot sleep their way to higher intelligence

While sleep allows your brain an opportunity to heal and restore, it does not ‘create’ intelligence. However, having enough energy to fully embrace learning opportunities during the day will enhance your child’s ability to absorb these learnings and sleep will help cement this learning.

Whatever your child’s IQ may be, help them get the sleep that they need to perform well at school by using a bedtime routine.

Remember also that an uncomfortable bed will impact your child’s sleep just as much as it would yours – so think twice before giving your child your old mattress. Investing in a good bed for your child could mean a happier and calmer child. Visit the Sealy website to view our range of beds:

Not sure if your child is getting enough sleep? Click here for a handy infographic from The Better Sleep Council:

How much sleep does my child need?

Article written by Roxanne Atkinson

US schools introduce SleepPods: Time-out for teens?

Teens can be stroppy, defiant and emotional. Much like their smaller counterparts, toddlers, they can throw a pretty good tantrum, but with a whole lot more strength behind it. These ‘negative’ behaviours can be attributed to the high-energy, high-sleep needs of their developing brains and bodies. Whilst teens may need more shut-eye (up to 13 hours per day at peak growth times!) they may not be able to find the sleep that they need in their schedules.

Rather than pushing over-tired teens to participate or sending them home to sleep (both options will not lead to learning), two schools in the USA have used Mental Health funding to install Sleep Pods by MetroNaps.

Sleep pods are being used to help teenagers who:
• Did not get a enough sleep
• Show signs of fatigue such as headaches, irritability and aggression
• Are anxious about their school marks
• Are not able to focus in class

Even teachers who battle with high blood pressure are finding the time in the sleep pod a great ‘time out’.

How does a sleep pod work?

This sleep pod consists of a reclining chair with a ‘dome’ cover. The participant lies back in the chair and enjoys a 20-minute power nap while the dome provides a quiet, dark environment. After 20 minutes, the teen re-joins the class rejuvenated and refuelled. Read more here: Sleep pods – Basically the best invention for teens 

SA schools might not be installing sleep pods just yet, but you can help ensure your teen has a good sleep each night (and whenever he or she is napping) by investing in a good quality mattress. Click here for additional tips on how to help your teen get a good night’s sleep.