"Sleep is healthy for your body and brain." Use of student-centered photovoice to explore the translation of sleep promotion at school to sleep behavior at home

Sleep Health. 2021 Oct;7(5):588-595. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2021.05.006. Epub 2021 Jul 21.


Study objectives: Schools are an important setting to teach and reinforce positive health behaviors such as sleep, however, research that incorporates the student perspective of school-based sleep promotion initiatives is limited. This study explored student's perceptions of sleep behavior (how they understood and valued positive and negative sleep behaviors) and determined if and how students translate school-based sleep promotion to the home.

Methods: Forty-five grade 4 and 5 children (aged 9-11 years) were purposefully sampled from 3 schools participating in the Alberta Project Promoting healthy Living for Everyone in schools (APPLE) in Edmonton, Canada. Using focused ethnography as the method and photovoice as a data generating strategy, qualitative in-depth information was generated through photo-taking and one-on-one interviews. Data were analyzed in an iterative, cyclical process using latent content analysis techniques.

Results: Four themes related to students' perception of sleep behavior within the context of a school-based sleep promotion initiative were identified: sleep is "healthy for your body and brain," sleep habits are rooted in the home environment, school experiences shape positive sleep habits at home, and students translate sleep promotion home if they think it is useful or would be acceptable to the family.

Conclusion and implications: School-based sleep promotion interventions that are grounded in the comprehensive school health (CSH) approach hold promise for successfully shaping student sleep behavior. To promote health and academic success in children, future interventions should include home-school partnerships that address child sleep across multiple critical learning environments.

Keywords: Comprehensive school health; home environment; home school interaction; photovoice; qualitative; school-based health promotion; school-based sleep promotion; student-centered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Brain
  • Child
  • Health Promotion* / methods
  • Humans
  • Sleep
  • Students*

Grants and funding