Homeschooling and Sleep Deprivation- 8 Things You Should Know

Homeschooling and Sleep Deprivation- 8 Things You Should Know

Homeschooling and Sleep Deprivation- 8 Things You Should Know

We’ve all been there: Up till all hours, working on the next day’s homeschooling stuff. (I’m doing that right now, actually…)

But this is REALLY a bad idea. Sleep deprivation doesn’t improve homeschool quality!

Up to 1/3 of Americans may be running on chronic sleep deprivation or sleep disorders. The deprivation is often the result of being on the computer or doing chores late into the night (or lesson plans), according to this recent article, Short Sleep Duration Among Workers. 

I know that in my practice as a counselor, we are frequently reminded to work with clients on sleep hygiene. It has been proven that poor sleep has a bad effect on mood management.

Psychology from a Christian Perspective from
Sleep is one topic that is taught in Introduction to Psychology. Click image for a full product description.

Here are 8 things you need to know about sleep deprivation:

Problems with chronic (more than 3 days) loss of sleep:

1. Frontal lobe neurons deteriorate (that’s the lobe that makes decisions and does critical thinking)

2. Insulin destabilization (become prone to blood sugar and related mood swings)

3. Other hormones destabilize

4. Elevated cortisol levels (leads to anxiety, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, metabolism problems, immune system lowered)

5. Brain’s memory center become inefficient

6. Cryptochromes interrupted (these are flavoproteins that are found in our eyes and skin that affect our biorhythms. They tell our bodies to stop making daytime serotonin- the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter and to start making melatonin- the sleep-inducing hormone). THEY ONLY WORK IN THE DARK!

7. Lowered melatonin if you’ve been awake late at night with lights on (light kills it)

8. Lowered REM sleep (dream sleep) means lowered levels of healing hormones

Here’s a little homeschool exercise to do:

Sleep affects neurotransmitter and hormone production. However, diet affects neurotransmitter production. Without a balanced diet, the body cannot make the neurotransmitters that you need. (ie: dairy, poultry, cruciferous vegetables provide the nutrients needed for serotonin production)

How many hours of sleep per night did you get last week? (Under 6 for 3 days in a row=trouble)

Did you eat a balanced diet each day?

DayHours SleptBalanced Diet (yes/no)

Look over the week- did you have overall healthy sleep?_______       Balanced diet?________

What is your mood like today?_________  (How you feel is affected in some measure by your sleep/diet.)

What is your energy level like today?_________  (Metabolism and energy are affected by sleep.)

How about trying these sleep hygiene techniques:

1. Take a warm shower or do a few stretches before bedtime (slightly elevated body heat helps you to fall asleep)

2. Do deep breathing when you get into bed

3. Once you’re in bed- no problem solving or organizing the next day. Think silly, creative, or positive thoughts- or pray

Homeschoolers: What do you do to help get to sleep? or to get ENOUGH sleep?

The Practice of the Presence of God Study GuideSpeaking of praying to help sleep. Try praying ALL day. Brother Lawrence taught us how in The Practice of the Presence of God.

Brother Lawrence was a monk who learned to understand and practice God’s presence with him during his day-to-day tasks like washing dishes. Sabrina developed a study guide for this important, Christian classic. (My son read the book with the study guide and really felt it enriched his life.) Download it today for just $4.99.

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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