There are so many reasons students fall asleep in class. In the weeks leading up to test time, stress relief for students can go a long way when trying to keep sleepy students awake. You see, they’re often overtired due to anxiety over their upcoming exams, finding time to study and a host of other stressors our kids face today.
So it’s no surprise that students are in a daze during class, and sometimes, dozing off on you.
It’s frustrating for both teachers and counselors. Luckily, there are a few interventions for sleeping in class that we can try to help perk up our students and promote a stress-free test time.
Let’s take a look at a few simple ways to support sleepy students for a more productive classroom.
Routines Promote Stress Relief for Sleepy Students
When students don’t have routines, they quickly become overwhelmed, and of course, stressed (and tired).
Routines help students see the structure in a day. It’s often easier for them to shift gears from one activity to another when their days are more structured.
So instead of feeling overwhelmed and distracted, students focus on the activity at hand, before moving onto the next one, because they know there’s time for everything in the day. Using a study planner is a great visual for those who need that hourly reminder.
Routines, and set bedtimes (more specifically), help students find rhythm and predictability during their day. In other words, even if their minds are busy, their bodies will adapt to a regular routine. Furthermore, assigning tasks for them at the end of their day, like journaling, can help trigger the body to know it’s time to wind down for the day.
Lastly, routines help students accomplish everything they need to during the day, so their minds are calm and ready for sleep at night (instead of worrying about what didn’t get done). Considering the importance of sleep for students, this is an area where we can truly make an impact.
Unplugging From the Feed to Wake Up Sleepy Students
It’s no surprise that social media, and phones, are distracting and stimulating, especially for a developing brain. Therefore, students can benefit from unplugging from their phones and social media well before bedtime.
Easier said than done, right?
Well, the trick is making the “wind-down” time fun and relaxing all at the same time so students want to keep to their newly created routines and stress-relieving activities. (more on this soon)
Mindfulness Activities Help Sleepy Students Stay Awake When it Counts
When students are stressed, or worried about an upcoming test, for example, mindfulness activities can help them overcome their discomfort.
Mindfulness activities bring students back to the present moment rather than spending time worrying about the future.
Teaching students how to meditate, or simply focus on their breath, can snap them back to reality and calm their anxieties. And, of course, the result is less stress and sleepiness from an overly busy mind.
Journaling to Unwind for a Good Night’s Sleep
Journaling at the end of the day is a great way for students to implement a mindfulness (wind down) activity.
Journals that promote reflection, for example, will help students clear their minds of their busy day, and settle down for a good night’s sleep.
And if you’re working with a student who suffers from anxiety, journal prompts can help them focus on specific things (like what they can control).
Tips for using Stress Relief Journals with students:
- Encourage students to use journals every night for the month leading up to a stressful event, like state testing.
- If nightly usage isn’t feasible, ask students to use their journals once a week.
- Lastly, if students are not implementing the journals at home, on their own, use them at the end of the school day. This can serve as a mindfulness activity on its own, or a gentle reminder to journal at the end of the day. Adding the journal to the end of the school day can help students develop their own journaling habits.
The truth is, students, do have a lot on their plates. Schoolwork, homework, extracurriculars, not to mention juggling friendships and their home life. It’s a lot of stress and overwhelm that we don’t directly witness, but instead, it shows up as a sleepy head on the desk.
Unfortunately, we can’t be there for our students 24/7, so we’ve learned to work with what we have: the school day and homework. Both are opportunities to encourage routines, mindfulness activities, and journaling.
But again, the key to successfully encouraging a student to implement a routine outside of the school day is to make it fun, and something to look forward to. And nightly journals may serve that purpose perfectly.
Looking for more student stress relief? Try this fun llama themed resource.