Basics of Sleep

This course will introduce you to the basics of sleep.


What is sleep?

Sleep is...

A condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended

When you research “what is sleep?” you will no doubt find many different quotes and offerings. Above are just a few.

So what do we know? Well we know that we need sleep and without it we would die. We know that all living animals also need it. We know that we do it every night.

What are the characteristics of someone who is asleep?

Think about what happens while you sleep... what are the characteristics of this? Select the correct options.

  • Talking a lot
  • Lack of movement
  • Eyes open
  • Laying down
  • Quiet

So sleep is...


It happens regularly as part of routine.


It is initiated and needed.


The body follows the same physiological routine to achieve and maintain sleep.

Now let's think about why we need sleep!

Why do we need sleep?

Why do we sleep?

Sleep is not just a state of physical rest, while we sleep our brain is intensively active!

So the next question is why do we sleep? Again this is not as simple as it sounds to answer.

Why we sleep has been a question that has baffled scientist for many years. If you consider that parts of the body have a function, the heart, the brain, what is the function of sleep? These are often referred to as “theories of sleep function”

We know that we need sleep. It has been preserved through evolution. We also know that we would die of sleep deprivation sooner than we would without food or water.

There are a number of theories around the function of sleep which we now look over.

How much sleep do we need?

How much sleep do we need?

  • Infants 4 to 12 months
    12-16 hours of sleep
  • Children 1 to 2 years
    11-14 hours of sleep
  • Children 3 to 5 years
    10-13 hours of sleep
  • Children 6 to 12 years
    9-12 hours of sleep
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years
    8-10 hours of sleep

The consequences of poor sleep

So what happens if we don't get enough sleep?

We have now some understanding of what sleep is, what makes us need sleep and the functions of sleep. Therefore we can think about what happens if we don’t get enough sleep.

When you don’t get enough sleep, how do you feel, what impact does this have on your life? Write some notes in the box below.

The consequences of poor sleep

Your list may have include some of the following:

  • Poor concentration

  • Tiredness

  • Irritable

  • Mood swings

  • Body feeling lethargic

  • Dampened cognitive ability

These can all have an impact our everyday  lives. 

•Then discuss the consequences of poor sleep in children: –Cognitive function –Behaviour –Academic Performance –Obesity •and it’s impact on parents/family life (if your child can’t sleep it is going to impact you as a parent in similar areas which could lead to): –Depression/anxiety/mood –Relationship breakdown –Employment, financial, economic problems

Which of these consequences of poor sleep are for the child or the family?

Drag and drop the text to the correct column. 

  • Poor behaviour
  • Anxiety

Which of these children is younger?

Test Section

Are these statements about Amy true or false?

  • Amy's birthday is in January.
  • Amy has 3 dogs.
  • Amy works at WSCC.

Fill in the blanks to this statement.

Amy used to have a pet called who was a Labrador.

Order the months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May