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. For example, they will learn that the REM cycle is when people are in the deepest sleep. And hypnic jerk happens during stage one when people are simply dozing off.

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.

What Sleep and Dreams 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. For instance, they will discover that sleep walking and sleep talking may occur in stage 3 of sleep.

This lesson defines sleep as a condition of the body and mind when the nervous system is fairly inactive. It describes how every living thing needs sleep and rest to renew energy for the next day. Many scientists believe the brain stores information, solves problems, and replaces chemicals during sleep. Not enough sleep leads to being cranky and tired, having a short temper, or struggling to think clearly. Sleep also affects the immune system. Good sleep can help the body heal from a cold, flu, and other illnesses.

The lesson continues to list the four stages of sleep and provides some traits that define each stage. It describes how the sleep cycle works and why taking naps can sometimes affect people’s ability to sleep well at night. Finally, it lists seven sleeping tips that students can try to ensure they get a good night’s sleep.


Students will work with a partner for the activity. The activity lists 10 facts about sleep and about 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).

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.