Ideas for Parents
Host a Sleep Out Slumber Party to celebrate your child's birthday
Plan a Family Sleep Out where everyone sleeps together on the same floor
Hold a Sleep Out Competition to see who will sleep out for the most consecutive days
Ideas for Teachers
Set a date for a Sleep Out (or use the date of the National Sleep Out), and encourage your students to participate
Have your students to lay on the floor for a period of time and then write a journal entry about how it would feel to sleep there without a pillow or a blanket
Ask your students to list all of the reasons that they would be in bed (e.i. sleeping, sick, reading, etc.)
Ask your students to calculate the number of hours that they use their bed every day, week, and year
Sleep Out for Kids
A Sleep Out is a great service project for children and youth. It teaches everything from the importance of sleep to the effects of poverty.
How to Talk to Children about Bedlessness
How exactly do you explain the problem of bedlessness to a child? Diane McGrath, a third grade teacher and Sleep Out advocate, talks to her students about the ways that sleeping on the floor can be uncomfortable and impact their education:
We talk about how fun it is to sleep on the floor or in a sleeping bag when we go to a friend’s house for a sleepover. But imagine having to do it every single night. Imagine having to get up off the floor, go to school and take a test that your teacher is asking you to do your very best on? Imagine what it would be like on a cold winter night? Or on a hot summer day? When you don’t feel good? The first thing I want to do when I’m sick is snuggle under my covers in my bed, but how do you snuggle on a hard floor? I ask them to imagine their older sisters and brothers in high school and all the important tests they take to get ready for college or a job when they graduate. What must it be like to hear your teachers talk about your future and how these tests can decide what you do with your future, and you’ve just spent the night on a hard floor?
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is essential for everyone, but especially for growing children. Recent studies link poor sleep with cognitive, physical and even behavioral issues. Quite simply, children who sleep poorly have more health problems and don’t perform as well in school.
For more information and resources, check out the National Sleep Foundation's Sleep for Kids website.