The Bright Schools Competition Educates Students on Link between Light and Sleep

This content was made possible by VolunteerSpot and the Bright Schools Competition.

Does your child get enough sleep at night? Students who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from behavioral issues that can range from rule breaking to more severe problems like depression and anxiety. Children who get the recommended amount of sleep are more creative, perform better in school, and have more self-control.

My oldest has battled sleep issues much of her life. She is cranky when she doesn’t get enough sleep, and has a really hard time concentrating throughout the day. She is more defiant and has multiple outbursts due to the lack of sleep.

The amount of natural light or short-wavelength light a child is exposed to during the day can affect how much sleep they get at night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, when we are exposed to sun in the morning the body is signaled to restart the wake-sleep cycle. Melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy, is decreased making us more alert. In the evening Melatonin is increased, and our bodies know it’s time to sleep.


When the body’s internal clock is disrupted from lack of natural light during the day it is harder to fall asleep at night. That’s why having a later bedtime means a child may be sleepy during the day.

The Bright Schools Competition

Bright Schools Competition

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have teamed up to sponsor The Bright Schools Competition for students in grades 6-8. The Bright Schools Competition will give students the opportunity to receive a positive and enduring Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) experience.
In students teams of 2-4, along with a coach, participants are asked to explore the correlation between light and sleep using scientific inquiry or engineering design concepts. Students will measure the amount of light available in the classroom, compare and analyze light measurements, and create and submit an original project that demonstrates their understanding of the effects of light and sleep on student health and performance.


Winning teams will receive rewards.

Student Awards:

All students receive an entry certificate to acknowledge their hard work in the competition, and each student from the winning teams will receive a cash prize.

First Place: $5,000

Second Place: $2,500

Third Place: $1,500

Teacher Awards:

First Place Team – technology package (e.g. Vernier Deluxe Middle School Probeware Package –
up to $1000 value), all-expense paid trip to one NSTA conference and one year membership to
NSTA (total value: $3000 )

Second Place Team –all-expense paid trip to one NSTA conference and a one-year membership
to NSTA (total value: up to $2,100)

Third Place Team – one-year membership to NSTA and a gift certificate to the NSTA store (total
value: up to $500)

How can your school participate?

The Bright Schools Competition is designed for students in grades 6-8. Registration is now open and the submission deadline is January 29, 2016. For more information on the competition, including eligibility requirements, visit

You can find more information about the National Sleep Foundation on Facebook or information about the National Science Teacher’s Association via their Facebook page as well.



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Jenn is from Upstate, SC, and loves that she gets to work from home to be with her two little girls. Jenn has been happily married to her very own Superman, Ben, for over a decade, and spends her time reading, writing short stories, doing freelance work and blogging, crafting, riding motorcycles, watching Clemson football, and enjoying life with her family.

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  1. This sounds really interesting and I know my son is this way.