Sleep Health

Sleep supports growth and development, fosters resiliency and has been recognized as a priority for the health, well-being and learning of students.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes insufficient sleep as an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of middle and high school students.

The Fairfax County Youth Survey, a comprehensive, anonymous and voluntary survey given each year to students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12, examines behaviors, experiences and other factors that influence the health and well-being of Fairfax County's youth. The results provide a snapshot of the county's youth and serve as a barometer of the community's effectiveness fostering healthy choices in young people. The Youth Survey is a collaboration of Fairfax County Government and the Fairfax County Public Schools. In the 2019 Fairfax County Youth Survey, only one third of students reported sleeping eight or more hours per night. As students get older, they are less likely to report at least 8 hours of sleep per night.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) 2020 Standards of Learning for Health Education emphasize the importance of sleep.  Topics instructed in FCPS health education include sleep hygiene, effects of sleep on health, setting a sleep goal, consequences of sleep deprivation, and the relationship between sleep deficiency and chronic disease and increased risk for injury and substance use.  In addition, sleep education is included in physical education for grades 7, 9, and 10 to meet VDOE standards of learning for physical education.  Students apply knowledge of the importance of sleep to personal goal setting, analysis of their behaviors, and wellness planning.  The chart below provides an overview of the health and physical education standards of learning related to sleep.

Sleep in Virginia Standards of Learning for Health Education

The Standards of Learning for Health Education are divided into three strands:  

  1. Essential Health Concepts,
  2. Healthy Decisions, and
  3. Advocacy and Health Promotion.

Grade Level



1.f Recognize the importance of a regular bedtime routine and enough sleep.

3.f Describe ways to calm down before bed to prepare for sleeping. 


1.e Identify behaviors that promote health and wellness, including personal hygiene, sleep, physical activity, and healthy food choices.

2.e Determine how sleep habits affect mood and academic performance.

3.e Promote behaviors that impact health and wellness.


Not included in SOLs


1.e Describe the benefits of getting enough sleep and the consequences of the use of electronic devices (i.e., screen time) on sleep.

2.e Evaluate how sleep, physical activity, screen time, and healthy food and beverage choices affect one’s personal health.

3.e Set a goal for a positive health practice and monitor progress.


1.e Describe the benefits of rest, sleep, and a physically active lifestyle.

2.e Explain how physical activity, rest, and sleep affect physical and mental health. 

3.e Create a plan to meet the daily requirement for physical activity, rest, and sleep, using valid and reliable resources.


1.f Explain the effects of physical activity, sleep, and personal health habits and behaviors on heart health.

3.f Support family and peers in making positive food, physical activity, and sleep choices that promote heart health.


1.g Describe persuasive tactics used by various types of media.

2.g Analyze a variety of media to identify tactics used to persuade consumers regarding physical activity, nutrition, sleep, or other areas of personal health products.

3.f Monitor personal progress toward physical activity, nutrition, and sleep goals.

3.g Analyze the reliability of health product claims for physical activity, nutrition, sleep, or other areas of personal health.


1.g  Evaluate the impact of sleep and rest on physical, social, and emotional health and on cognitive performance.

2.g Compare current personal sleep and rest habits with recommended guidelines for teenagers.

3.g  Engage family to create a personal plan to meet recommended guidelines for sleep and rest.


1.g Explain the difference between rest, sleep, sleep deprivation, and sleep debt.

2.g Identify sleep hygiene strategies to support recommendations for optimal sleep.

2.h Describe preventive health measures, including immunizations, regular health and medical screenings, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and limiting personal technology use, in preventing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

3.g Create Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.) goals to get optimal sleep to promote cognitive performance and academic success.


1.d Describe the prevalence, causes, and long-term consequences of unhealthy eating, sleep deprivation, extended screen time, and sedentary lifestyle.

2.d Explain the physical, mental, and academic benefits of proper nutrition, sleep and rest, physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight, and other personal wellness behaviors.

3.d Design a wellness plan for physical activity, sleep, rest, and nutrition to meet current health goals.


1.c Explain the physical, mental, social, and academic benefits of sufficient sleep and the relationship between sleep deficiency, chronic disease, and the increased risk for injury and substance use.

3.c  Create or modify a personal wellness plan for physical activity, sleep, personal hygiene, and other health-enhancing behaviors to prevent communicable and chronic disease.


Sleep in Virginia Standards of Learning for Physical Education

In the physical education standards, sleep is included in standard 5 Energy Balance.

Grade Level



5.g Explain the importance of sleep for energy balance.


5.d Design and implement a plan to maintain an appropriate energy balance for a healthy, active lifestyle, to include intake, expenditure (levels of intensity), and sleep.


5.d Evaluate current and future sleep needs.


FCPS Resources

Additional Resources