Student, Parent, and Teacher Perspectives to Inform and Strengthen School-based Sleep Promotion

  • Author / Creator
    Mellon, Pamela R
  • Sleep deprivation is a public health concern among school-aged children. Schools are an ideal setting to influence children's sleep behaviours as children spend a significant amount of time at school during key developmental periods, and programs that influence students' overall wellbeing also benefit students’ academic achievement. Comprehensive School Health (CSH) is an internationally recognized approach that prioritizes school, home, and community partnerships and supports the development of health behaviours, including sleep, across environments where children live, learn, and play. School-based sleep promotion is an approach to inform and strengthen school and home efforts to improve students sleep behaviours. School-based sleep promotion can build on existing health promotion efforts in schools to enhance school, home, and community collaboration to support healthy sleep. There is a need to understand how to build on existing strengths within school communities to promote healthy sleep behaviours. The purpose of this research was to explore the perspectives of students, parents, and teachers regarding school-based sleep promotion. Throughout this thesis, ‘teacher’ will refer to teachers and school administrators, as all teachers and school administrators interviewed held teaching certificates. Qualitative methods were used to (1) explore teacher perspectives on sleep behaviours and their role in school-based sleep promotion, and (2) integrate multiple partner perspectives to inform how school-based sleep promotion can be strengthened when taking a CSH approach.
    Objective 1 used interpretive description as a guiding method and semi-structured interviews as a data generating strategy. Teachers (n = 19) were recruited from the greater Edmonton area, Alberta, Canada and participated in one-on-one virtual interviews. Interviews were professionally transcribed, and themes were identified using inductive descriptive thematic analysis. Three themes related to teachers’ perspectives on sleep behaviours and school-based sleep promotion were identified: the importance of sleep, prioritizing sleep as part of teaching and learning, and a culture of healthy sleep habits. Teachers considered sleep to be essential for elementary students’ academic success and wellbeing, and a whole school approach was necessary to support a healthy sleep culture in schools.
    Objective 2 was a secondary qualitative analysis of student (n=45), parent/guardian (n=24), and teacher (n=19) interviews from participants representing schools and communities in Alberta, Canada. Data were examined using an a priori framework in alignment with the four components of CSH: social and physical environment, teaching and learning, policy, and partnerships and services. Inductive content analysis was used to develop categories and subthemes. The following subthemes were identified within each CSH component: social and physical environment (culture of healthy sleep habits; students influence each other), teaching and learning (formally integrate sleep into curriculum; school, teacher, and parents/guardian collaboration), policy (sleep-positive classroom policies), and partnerships and services (community partnerships; school-home collaboration). These findings can support school partner efforts to foster a school culture of healthy sleep habits leading to improvements in students sleep behaviours.
    This thesis provides novel insights into teacher’s perspectives on promoting healthy sleep behaviours in schools and multiple partner (student, parent, and teacher) perspectives on how school-based sleep promotion can be strengthened using a CSH approach. Findings inform future research, practice, and policy related to school-based sleep promotion in Canada. Future school-based sleep promotion should build on existing school strengths including the social and physical environment, teaching and learning, policy, and partnerships and services. Overall, school-based sleep promotion was valued by students, parents, and teachers and future school-based sleep promotion interventions would benefit from taking a whole school approach. This research has the potential to inform and strengthen school-based sleep promotion when taking a CSH approach and be a potential solution to overcome existing challenges in teaching students healthy sleep behaviours.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.