Starry Night Light

Do you use a night light to help you sleep?

Getting consistent, healthy sleep is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, getting to sleep can be tricky for some people. Having a consistent bedtime routine helps kids and adults alike feel their best the next morning.

Having a night light on can be soothing during the bedtime routine. Try making a simple and beautiful light to incorporate into the routine, assist with the calm down process and help kids (and adults!) get ready for sleep.

In this activity, you will create a special lantern to use in the sleep routine.

• Understand the importance of having a bedtime routine and how it can improve your sleep
• Describe how healthy sleep relates to overall health and wellness
Key Vocabulary: Routine, sleep, brain

Facilitator Background:

  • Sleep is vital for the body and brain
  • Sometimes students are surprised to learn that the brain doesn’t “shut off” for the night! Multiple parts of the brain are active during sleep, involving structures responsible for consolidating memories, controlling the transitions between sleep and wake, relaxing muscles, processing emotions, and more.
  • Sleep is generally categorized as:
    • a period of reduced activity.
    • associated with a typical posture, such as lying down with eyes closed in humans.
    • results in a decreased responsiveness to external stimuli.
    • a state that is relatively easy to reverse (this distinguishes sleep from other states of reduced consciousness, such as hibernation and coma).
  • From observations of behavioral changes that accompany sleep and simultaneous physiological changes, scientists now define sleep in humans based on brain wave activity patterns and other physiological changes like breathing, heart rate, and body temperature.
  • Circadian rhythms control your timing of sleep. It acts as the body’s biological clock and synchronizes with environmental cues (like light and the temperature) to make us sleepy at night and more awake in the morning
  • There are two basic types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM). Each is linked to specific patterns of brain activity, measures in waves. Everyone cycles through all stages of non-REM and REM sleep several times per night.
4 stages of sleep
The four stages of sleep. Illustrated JR Bee, Verywell
  • Researchers and scientists are still working to better understand the risks involved with being chronically sleep deprived and the relationship between sleep and disease, but studies suggest that people who are chronically sleep deprived are more likely to be overweight, have strokes and cardiovascular disease, infections, and certain types of cancer than those who get enough sleep.

Healthy Sleep:

  • Children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep
  • TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products all can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to school aged children’s sleep
  • In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours
  • Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent in school age children
  • Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems that impact on children’s ability to learn in school

Kid Friendly Language:

  • Your brain and your body need sleep to perform their best. Just like a phone needs to recharge, your brain and body both need some rest time to get ready for the next day
  • Have you ever thought about what it means to sleep? It can be tricky since we usually aren’t thinking about sleep WHILE we are sleeping! Scientists say sleep means:
    • There is less action in your mind and body
    • Your body is in a special position (in humans, laying down and eyes closed)
    • You are not noticing things going on around you
    • You can wake up easily (it doesn’t last forever)
  • Most kids need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night
  • When your body doesn’t get enough rest, you might feel cranky and have a hard time following directions
  • Having a bedtime routine can improve your sleep. Here are some things you can try:
    • Go to bed at the same time every night
    • Get lots of exercise during the day
    • Have a light snack before bed like milk or cereal – but not with too much sugar!
    • Do some quiet activities before bed, like taking a bath, listening to quiet music or reading a book
    • Make sure the bedroom is dark enough (a night light is okay)

This information and more from National Sleep Foundation, © 2020 SLEEPFOUNDATION.ORG

Key Questions


  • Small paper bags
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or makers
  • Hole punches in different shapes (moons, stars, etc.)
  • LED-flame candle or glow sick

Activity Plan

  1. Connect to prior knowledge:
    1. Ask: What are some things you like to do before bed to help you sleep?
    2. Explain: Getting plenty of sleep is part of living a healthy life! A routine is when we do the same things in the same order every day. At school, you probably have a morning routine: what do you do when you get to school? [responses will vary]
    3. Just like there are lots of routines at school, having a bedtime routine will help your brain and your body get ready for lots of healthy sleep. We will make a lantern that you can use as part of that routine: you could read with it, meditate with it, or write about it in a sleep journal!
  2. Fold the top one inch of the bag over on itself to make a border around the opening of the bag.
  3. Using shaped hole punches, carefully slide the bag into the puncher and press down to create the hole. You can fold the bag in half to get to the middle of the lantern. Continue punching out shapes until the lantern has the design you want. If you do not have hole punchers, carefully use scissors to create slits and small holes.
  4. Open the bag fully and place an electric tea light or glow stick in the bag.
  5. Place the lantern in a room and turn it on during a bedtime routine. Having a relaxing light can help the body get ready for bed.

As with all activities, adult supervision is strongly recommended.

Follow-Up Questions

  • What is one thing you might add to your sleep routine?
  • How do you think getting a good night’s sleep could change your day?

Extension Activities

  • Study the famous Starry Night painting (van Gogh, 1889) and use scraps of tissue paper and glue to make a design on the bag after you punch the holes. The light should still shine through the holes, making a wonderful, colorful design.
  • Make a sleep diary! Try this one to get started.

Check it out!