Sleep and Dreams


Sleep and Dreams is an interesting lesson in which students will learn about the importance of sleep and when people dream. They will discover how sleep is divided into stages and at which stages certain things occur.

There are several suggestions or alternatives in the “Options for Lesson” section. One such suggestion is to allow the students to fall asleep in class for a number of minutes as an experiment to see how long it takes them. You can take advantage of any number of these suggestions as you see fit.

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What our Sleep and Dreams lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Sleep and Dreams introduces students to the concept of sleep and dreaming and why people even need sleep. Students will be able to identify the states of sleep and describe traits for each stage. They will also discover some tips to help them sleep better. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

Options for Lesson

There are a number of ideas in the “Options for Lesson” section that you could incorporate into the lesson plan if you want. One suggestion is to have students research other facts about sleep and dreams and discuss them with a partner. Students could also keep a dream journal for one week and report their observations to the class. Another fun idea students may particularly enjoy is to let them fall asleep in class for a set amount of time to determine how long it takes them. Students could research the sleep habits of other animals and compare them to those of humans. To incorporate a little math into the lesson, students could figure out how many hours they have slept since they were born. One last idea is to invite a sleep specialist to speak with the class and answer questions.

Teacher Notes

This page provides an extra paragraph of information or guidance on the lesson and how to approach it. It suggests you focus on helping students understand how important good sleep is for their health. Use the blank lines to write out your thoughts as you prepare the lesson.


What Is Sleep?

The Sleep and Dreams lesson plan contains four pages of content. To start out, the lesson states that there are 24 hours in a day, and one event takes up about 33% of those hours. The average amount of sleep people get should be around eight hours, or one-third of the day. If a person lives to be 90 years old, he or she will have slept for about 30 years!

Sleep by definition is a condition of the body and mind when the nervous system is relatively inactive. The eyes close, muscles relax, and consciousness is mostly suspended for several hours. Every living thing needs sleep and rest. Because we are active throughout the day doing many different things, our bodies need rest, as do our brains.

Many scientists believe the brain sorts through and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems while we sleep. This is why it is a good idea to get a good night’s sleep before making an important decision. Additionally, the brain maintains blood sugar levels, regulates hormones, and reduces high blood pressure during sleep. Therefore, better sleep leads to better physical, mental, and emotional health.

Students will learn that when people don’t get enough sleep, they feel cranky or tired, have a short temper, or can’t think clearly. Lack of sleep often makes it difficult to concentrate or remember things. It also can affect our growth and immune system, making it easier to get sick and harder to recover from illness.

Stages of Sleep

While scientists don’t know everything about sleep, they do recognize that most people have typical sleep patterns that involve four stages. The first stage is light sleep when the body starts to feel drowsy. If you wake from this stage, it doesn’t feel like you even slept. Breathing slows down and the regular heartbeat, blood pressure, and brain temperature decrease.

Stage two involves slightly deeper sleep. The brain sends a signal to the muscles to relax, and the heart beats at a slower pace. Brain waves also slow down but have occasional bursts of rapidity. This stage usually lasts about 20 minutes, and it becomes harder to wake up. About 45% of our sleep involves this stage.

Next is stage three. This stage lasts for 35 to 45 minutes after falling asleep. Similar to the first two stages, the brain waves slow down or decrease. It is easy to sleep through many disturbances like noises and movements. If we do wake up during this stage, we might feel disoriented or confused for a few minutes. Sleepwalking, night terrors, and sleep talking may occur in stage three.

Finally, stage four introduces the deepest sleep from which it is very hard to wake up. Sleepwalking and talking can also occur during this stage. This is also the stage during which REM (rapid eye movement) first occurs. It lasts about 10 minutes. In addition, this is when we have powerful dreams, and our heart and respiration rates increase. This occurs about 90 minutes after we fall asleep.

Sleep Cycle

The lesson explains how these four stages are all part of the sleep cycle. The first cycle lasts around 90 minutes, and subsequent cycles last between 100 and 120 minutes. On average, a person goes through about four to five sleep cycles every night. The cycle usually follows an interesting order or pattern: stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 2, stage 1, REM sleep.

After REM, a person usually goes back to stage 1 sleeping. And as the night continues on to morning, REM sleep time increases and deep sleep time decreases. Deep sleep provides us with the most rest, and taking a short nap during the day won’t affect it. However, if a longer nap reaches deep sleep, it becomes more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

The amount of sleep someone needs usually depends on their age. Most children between 5 and 12 years old need between 9.5 and 11 hours of sleep every night. As people age, however, an average of 8 hours seems to be effective. As far as dreaming goes, everybody dreams, but we don’t fully know why or what causes them. The lesson offers several sleeping tips that students could utilize to get good rest every night.


The Sleep and Dreams lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help solidify students’ comprehension and help them demonstrate what they learned. Use the guide on the classroom procedure page, which outlines when to hand out each worksheet to the class throughout the lesson.


Students will work with a partner for the activity. The activity lists 10 facts about sleep and dreams, and a question follows each fact. Students will read through and discuss the facts together. They will come up with answers, which they will write in the space under the question. If they disagree on an answer, they can write their own answer.


The practice worksheet has two sections. The first section contains eight scenarios. Students will mark each scenario with a 1, 2, 3, or 4 to represent which stage of sleep the scenario describes. For the second section, students must answer the questions that relate to the information they learned.


The homework assignment is similar to the practice worksheet. For the first part, students must decide which stage (1, 2, 3, or 4) matches the statement. They may also decide that more than one stage applies to the scenario. For the second part, students must mark whether the statements they read are true (T) or false (F).

Worksheet Answer Keys

The last two pages of the document are answer keys for both the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. All the correct answers are in red, which makes it easier to compare the pages to students’ work. For the most part, students’ responses should match the answer keys. There may be some variation on a few questions depending on the nature of those questions. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade



State Educational Standards

CSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.2, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.4, LB.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.7

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Excellent material, easy to use, I don't know why I hadn't found it before!!!